Evil Online: World Experts Visit Girton

16th August 2018

One of the world’s leading moral philosophers will visit Bendigo on 20 September to launch a new book,

Evil Online, written by Australian philosopher Dr Dean Cocking and co-authored by Professor Jeroen van den Hoven from the Netherlands.

Professor Roger Crisp, Professor of Moral Philosophy, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, will launch the book and take part in a panel Q&A session on the moral confusion ensuing from life online, and on the ways in which people may be led into evil. He will be joined by Associate Professor Justin Oakley, Deputy Director of the Human Bioethics Centre at Monash University, a world-renowned moral philosopher, who has completed significant teaching and research work on the moral psychology of evil.

Evil Online, provides the first comprehensive analysis of the explosion of evil in our new online worlds and develops a new theory of evil based on how ordinary people can go astray.

Dr Cocking explains that our social life online is so unlike the social worlds that humans have learned to navigate over thousands of years.

“It is not an exaggeration to characterise new technologies, especially social media, as a gigantic social experiment with little foresight or design for values, as a result, the fate of many of our values, such as privacy and intimacy, is in chaos.

“There is a moral fog created by digital features that shape how we express ourselves and communicate to one another in our online worlds, such as the seeming unreality and isolation of the digital medium, as well as rampant objectification and self-obsession,” he said.

Dr Cocking is an Australian philosopher and independent researcher. He was Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra and has taught philosophy to the military, ethics to police, and done varied consultancy work, including youth work and legal and medical ethics. His research is taught at many Universities around the world. He is now pursuing the issues raised by Evil Online at evilonline.org and he is an Honorary Thinker in Residence at Girton Grammar School in Bendigo.

Headmaster at Girton Grammar School, Mr Matthew Maruff, said that Professor Cocking’s presence at the school is contributing to the academic life of the students, encouraging them to think broadly and deeply.

“We aim to contribute to public discourse in the broader Bendigo region. Encouraging critical thinking and hosting events such as this one is important for our students and for Bendigo.

“A public discussion with some of the world’s best moral philosophers will help to shine a light on the moral values attached to our identities and relationships with others,” Mr Maruff said.

To attend the free book launch of Evil Online and discuss these issues more, book at: https://www.trybooking.com/XQIV

Pictured: Front cover of “Evil Online” and author, Dr Dean Cocking