Edward H. Spence

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Edward Howlett Spence
Birthname Edward Howlett Spence
Date of Birth Unknown
Birth Place Unknown
Nationality Australian
Occupation Lecturer
Biography Expert in moral philosophy and professional ethics

Dr. Edward Howlett Spence is a lecturer at the Charles Sturt University in Australia and a research fellow at the University of Twente at Netherlands. Spence received his PhD from the University of Sydney. His main areas of research are moral philosophy and professional ethics[1].

Dr. Edward Howlett Spence

Personal interests

Edward Spence has written extensively on subjects of ethics and morals. Among his themes are corruption and anti-corruption, virtual environments, news media, advertising, moral philosophy models, ancient wisdom (Socrates and Plato), clinical trials, drug offenses, and photo manipulation, among others.

logo of the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics

His page lists a variety of research interests, including:

  • Philosophy and ethics of information
  • Ethics of communication
  • Ethics of (new) media
  • Media corruption
  • Philosophy and ethics of computer games and virtual worlds
  • Moral philosophy and meta-ethics
  • Philosophy of human rights
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Epistemology
  • Theories of justice
  • Ethics of sustainability, of the good life
  • Philosophy and ethics of information and communication technologies
  • Ethics of robots
  • Ethics of clinical trials.[1]

Literary Works


  • Spence, E. (lead author), Alexandra, A, Quinn, A and Dunn, A. Media, Markets and Morals. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing (forthcoming).
  • Spence, E. Ethics Within Reason: A Neo-Gewithian Approach (2006). Maryland: Lexington Books (a division of Rowman and Littlefield, USA).
  • Spence, E. (lead author), & Van Heekeren, B. (2005). Advertising Ethics. Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA: Pearson/Prentice Hall
  • Spence, E., Miller, S., Roberts, P., & (2005). Corruption and Anti-corruption: An Applied Philosophical Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA: Pearson/Prentice Hall

Publish and be damned

He wrote an article titled "Publish and be damned" on August 10th, 2009 [2]. Mr. Spence's article "Publish and be damned" at ABC, August 10th, 2009. In this article, Mr. Spence discusses The Australian newspaper, specifically on its story covered (Police swoop on Melbourne homes after Somali Islamists' terror plot exposed) [3]

The article, that Mr. Spence comments on, discusses the terror plot. Four Australian men were arrested, but it took 400 houses to be raided in the area.

Mr. Spence starts his first paragraph in his own article discussing the events:

The scoop published in The Australian on August 4 2009 titled Police swoop on Melbourne homes after Somali Islamists terror plot exposed, concerning "a plot by Islamic extremists in Melbourne to launch a suicide attack on an Australian Army base" has caused a storm of controversy across the nation at the centre of which is not the publication of the story but its timing Mr. Spence's article "Publish and be damned" at ABC, August 10th, 2009 [2].

This would seem to fit into one of the research interests: philosophy of human rights, and media ethics.

The Ethics of Virtual Worlds

The opening paragraph of his The Ethics of Virtual Worlds book explains virtual worlds and their ethical problems:

If virtual worlds are merely “virtual” and thus not real, why should we care about what happens in those worlds, let alone care about what the ethics of virtual worlds are or ought to be? A simple and straightforward answer to this question is that insofar as ethics concerns the inter-relations that people have with one another and insofar as such inter-relations can and do take place within the boundaries of virtual worlds, then clearly ethics is relevant to virtual worlds.

He says that ethics matters in virtual worlds, because people have almost the same relations in the virtual worlds, as they do in the real world.

Further, Mr. Spence emphasizes that people ought to apply the same ethics standards to the virtual worlds as in real life:

If people of their own free will and informed consent decide to engage with each other in mercantile or any other types of social transactions within the boundaries of a virtual world, as they often do for example in the virtual world of Second Life, then those transactions ought to be bound by similar ethical standards as those applicable in the real world [4].

Edward Spence Online Presence

Even though his literary work is extensive, he has modest online presence: he has just one article published at an Australian news website [1] and he has a writer's bio at the same site. He has staff pages at CAPPE and University of Twente. For more details, see the References section.

Currently Mr. Spence has just two books listed in his author's Amazon account, even though he has authored more than that. A search at the Amazon for his name and keyword 'ethics' uncovers some more books, some of which do not link to Mr. Spence's Amazon page at [5].

Projects and research

In 1997, Mr. Spence founded the Theatre of Philosophy Plays project [6]. He is now working on The Cultural Quality of Digital Information for the Evaluation of the Cultural Quality of New Media project [7]. Spence is also in the process of publishing the Media, Markets and Morals book as a lead author [7].

Grants received

From 2000 to 2001, Mr. Spence has received an ARC SPIRT Grant for his "ethical analysis" for drug offences and anti-corruption practices. In 2001, he was awarded the Charles Sturt University grant for sabbatical. In 2003, he received a grant by the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. In 2004, he received a grant from the Charles Sturt University. In 2005, he received another research grant from the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, and a publication grant from the Charles Sturt University. In 2006 he received two grants from the Charles Sturt University. For 2006 to 2009, he got a "three year postdoctoral fellowship by the Centre for the Philosophy of Technology at the University of Twente" [7].

Public Media

On 29 March 2005, Mr. Spence had an interview with James Valentine (ABC Radio 702) about his "philosophy play presentations" and "relevance of practical philosophy for contemporary life"[1]. On 29 December 2005, he had an interview with George Messaris (SBS Radio) about the Philosophy Plays project [1].

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.cappe.edu.au/staff/edward-spence.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2650772.htm
  3. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/police-swoop-on-melbourne-homes-after-somali-islamists-terror-plot-exposed/story-0-1225757649928
  4. Meta Ethics for the Metaverse: The Ethics of Virtual Worlds, p. 1.
  5. Edward Spence's Amazon page http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Spence/e/B001HNMND6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named abc
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 http://www.utwente.nl/ceptes/research_staff/spence/
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