• CSU
  • University of Melbourne

This research centre ceased operation on 31 December 2016. This website is archived. There will be no further updates to this site.


Economics and Innovation

The program focuses on central ethical issues arising in the economic sphere. These include the justice of national and global economic arrangements, such as taxation, fiscal, labour and property law, and financial and trading regimes. Specific areas include markets in education and the economics of climate change. The program also examines corporate responsibilities in the spheres of finance, profitability, sustainability and human rights, and distributive justice. It aims to make a major contribution to the ethical understanding of innovation and technology. Program members realize that technical, scientific, legal and social science expertise is vital, and work with practitioners in the relevant professions.


Research in this program examines a range of issues that arise from the nature and value of the natural, and also the artificial environment, and our relationship with them. These include issues of justice and responsibility in relation to possession of, access to, and exploitation of land, water, and other (renewable and non-renewable) natural resources, ethical issues in climate change mitigation and adaptation, including those involving geo-engineering, and the human role in the anthropocene. 


This program addresses issues in bioethics, healthcare ethics, and public health ethics. This includes conceptual work on the ethics of procreation, the ethics of providing medical treatment to vulnerable groups such as children, dual use issues in the biological sciences, and the distinction between medical treatment and human enhancement. It also includes work on practical ethical issues arising in healthcare, including moral and regulatory challenges of experimental therapies, difficulties facing medical research ethics committees, and the problem of determining when conscientious objections are legitimate in healthcare.


This program addresses a variety of conceptual and practical ethical issues that are generated for the most part by the phenomena of war, humanitarian intervention, terrorism, crime and corruption. These include the nature and application of Just War Theory, morality and self-defense, principles of criminal liability, justification for police use of force, ethics of counter-terrorism tactics, anti-corruption systems and ethical issues in cyber-security.


2015 Annual Report [.pdf]

CAPPE Events

Seminar 28th September

Norvo Lo - La Trobe University

This paper discusses social attitudes towards feeding neighbourhood wild birds. It connects different and often opposing attitudes on the issue to three schools of philosophy regarding animals and nature. These include animal liberation ethics, wilderness preservation ethics,and anthropocentrism. 

Contact CAPPE for more information.


Professor Seumas Miller

Institutional Corruption and The Capital Markets  More

Fixing the Fix - Benchmark Reform and the Future of Financial Regulation  More

Designing-in-Ethics: A Compulsary Retirement Savings System  More

Dr Stephen Clarke

On Religious Violence, ABC Western Plains 'Mornings', radio interview  More

Past media events

Dr Edward Howlett Spence

Business and Professional Ethics
IT and Nanotechnology: Ethics of Emergent Technology

Charles Sturt University School of Communication
Email: <>
Building N5 Room 102
Bathurst Campus NSW 2795 Australia
Ph (Mobile): +61 (0) 415 849 051
Ph (Office): + 61 2 6338 4520
Fax:             +61 2 6338 4409
View my cv (.pdf)

BA(Hons), PhD


Edward Spence, BA (Honors, First Class), PhD (University of Sydney), is a senior lecturer in moral philosophy and professional ethics in the School of Communication, Charles Sturt University, Australia. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) in Canberra. He is also a Research Fellow at the 3TU Centre of Excellence for Ethics and Technology. The 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology is jointly hosted by the three Technical Universities of Twente, Delft and Eindhoven in the Netherlands and its headquarters is based in The Hague. Edward was one of two successful applicants worldwide selected and seconded from Charles Sturt University for the period 1 September 2006 to 31 August 2009 to work as a Research Fellow on an International Research Project on the Evaluation of the Cultural Quality of New Media and the Good Life in the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente in the Netherlands. His specific research sub-project was the Normative Evaluation of Digital Information and the Good Life. This project was funded by the National Research Council of the Netherlands (NWO), the equivalent of the Australian Research Council (ARC) in Australia

He is the author of Advertising Ethics (with Brett Van Heekeren) and Corruption and Anti-Corruption: A Philosophical Approach (with Seumas Miller and Peter Roberts), both published in 2005 by Pearson/Prentice Hall, USA; He is the author of Ethics Within Reason: A Neo-Gewirthian Approach, Lexington Books (a division of Rowman and Littlefield) Lanham: USA, 2006, and the leading author of Media, Markets and Morals (with Andrew Alexandra, Anne Dunn and Aaron Quinn) Oxford: Blackwell (forthcoming). He is also the author of several refereed papers in national and international journals on professional ethics, including media ethics.

He is the founder and producer of the Theatre of Philosophy Plays project whose aim is the introduction of philosophy to the general public through drama and audience participation through discussion. Conceived by Edward in 1997, the Theatre of Philosophy Plays project that is still running combines philosophical talks presented by academic philosophers with original plays performed by professional actors in public forums which can take the form of restaurants, pubs, theatres, vineyards, opera houses, or other type of venue accessible to the public. Several of Edward’s authored philosophy plays have been performed at Arts and Cultural Festivals throughout Australia, including the Australian Fringe Festival in Adelaide and the Greek Festival in Sydney. In 2004, his philosophy play The Philosophy of Love: Love in the Age of Terror was performed at the Sydney Opera House and in 2005 his philosophy play, The Philosophy of Freedom: Ancient Wisdom for a New World, was performed at the Museum of Sydney.


Edward teaches in the School of Communication, Charles Sturt University in subjects of professional ethics and applied philosophy including media ethics, journalism ethics, advertising ethics and theories of justice for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. He has taught and supervised MA students in Philosophy and ICT (PSTS) in the course, Technology and the Good Life, at the University of Twente, Netherlands (2006-2009).



Edward is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), Canberra, Australia and a Research Fellow at the 3TU Centre of Excellence for Ethics and Technology, The Hague, Netherlands. The following are among his special arrears of research:

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





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


Book Chapters

Spence, E. (in press) Justice in a Just Society. In John-Stewart Gordon (Ed.) Morality and Justice: Reading Boylan's A Just Society. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Spence, E. (in press) Faith in Reason. In Quadrio, P. and Besseling, C. (Eds.) Politics and Religion in the New Century: Philosophical Perspectives. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

Briggle, A. and Spence E. (in press). Cosmopolitan Friendship Online. In Friends and Foes, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Based on a selection of the best papers of an international conference, Friends and Foes, held at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 15-17 November 2007.

Spence, E. (in press) The Epistemology and Ethics of Internet Information. In Alessandro D’Atri and Domenico Sacca (Eds.) Information Systems: People, Organisations, Institutions and Technologies, Springer. The contents of this book are based on a selection of the best papers presented at the International Association of Information Systems (Italian Chapter) itAIS Conference held in Paris on 13-14 December, 2008.

Spence E. and Briggle, A. (in press) Cosmopolitanism Online: How to Build A Virtual Cosmopolis. In Charles Wankel (Ed.) Emerging Ethical Issues of Life in Virtual Worlds. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Spence, E. (pending) Virtual Rape, Virtual Dignity: Meta-Ethics for Virtual Worlds. Invited chapter for an edited book on the Philosophy of Computer Games, Springer. The chapter has undergone editorial review and has been accepted for the second stage of a refereed double blind review (submitted 15 October 2008).

Spence, E. (2008) Metaethics for the Metaverse: The Ethics of Virtual Worlds. In Adam Briggle, Philip Brey and Katinka Waelbers (Eds.,) Current Issues in Computing and Philosophy. Amsterdam: IOS.

Spence, E. (2005) Conflicts of Interest and Corruption in Auditing. In Tom Campbell and Keith Houghton (eds.) Ethics and Auditing. Canberra: ANU Academic Press.

Spence, E. (1999) A Commentary on Deryck Beyleveld’s “Gewirth and Kant on Justifying the Supreme Principle of Morality”. In Michael Boylan (ed.), Gewirth, Critical Essays On Action, Rationality, And Community. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp 119-124.


Articles in Academic Journals and Conference Proceedings

Spence, E. (2009) Corruption in the Media. International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Volume 22:2 – Fall 2008, pp. 231-241.

Spence E. (2009) The Epistemology and Ethics of Media Markets in the Age of Information, in Yvonne Thorhauer and Stefan Blachfellner (Eds.), Business Intelligence Meets Moral Intelligence, International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE) Vol.10 (February 2009), Issue No. 010, 45-52.

Spence E. (in press) A Universal Model for the Normative Evaluation of Internet Information, Ethics and Information Technology.

Spence E. (in press) Information Ethics Without Metaphysics: A Neo-Gewirthian Approach, International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction.

Spence E. (in press) The Epistemology and Ethics of Internet Information: A Neo-Gewirthian Approach, Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society (ICES), Vol 7 No 4 or Vol 8 No 1.

Spence E. (in press) Groundwork for a Neo-Epicurean Approach to a Sustainable Good Life in a Technological World, Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics.

Spence, E. (forthcoming) Wisdom in the Age of Information: a Meta-Information Model for Evaluating Digital Information in Relation to the Good Life. In Maria Bottis and Fran Herman (Eds.), Special Issue of Ethics and Information Technology, based on a selection of the best papers from the CEPE 2009 Conference, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece, June 2009.

Spence E. (2009) Wisdom on the Line: Understanding the Role of Online Information in the Good Life. Jordi Vallverdu Segura (Ed.), Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Philosophy and Computing. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, July 2-4, 2009, ISBN/DL: B-27978-2009.

Spence, E. (2009) Information, Knowledge and Wisdom: Groundwork for the Evaluation of Digital Information and Its Relation to the Good Life. Maria Bottis, (Ed.) Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry (CEPE 2009), Ionian Academy, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece, 26-28, June 2009, pp. 563-586.

Spence, E. (2009) Is Technology Good for Us? A Eudemonic Meta-Model for Evaluating the Contributive Competence of Technological Products and Processes to the Good Life. Katinka Waelbers (Ed.) Proceedings of the Society of the Philosophy of Technology Conference 2009: Converging Technologies, Changing Societies, University of Twente, Netherlands, July 8-10, 2009.

Spence E. (2009) The Moral Status of Virtual Artefacts in Computer Games. The Philosophy of Computer Games, International Conference, University of Oslo, Norway, 13-15 August, 2009.

Spence, E. and Quinn, A. (2008) Information Ethics as a Guide for New Media. Journal of Mass Media Ethics: Exploring Questions of Media Morality, 1532-7728, Volume 23, Issue 4, 2008, Pages 264-279.

Spence, E. (2008) Understanding Luciano Floridi’s Metaphysical Theory of Information Ethics: A Critical Appraisal and an Alternative Neo-Gewirthian Information Ethics. American Philosophy Association (APA) Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers, Fall 2008, Volume 08, Number 1.

Quinn, A. and Spence, E. (2007) Two Dimensions of Photo Manipulation: Correction and Corruption. Melbourne: Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, 9, 1.

Spence, E. (2007) Positive Rights and the Cosmopolitan Community: A Right-Centred Foundation for Global Ethics, Journal of Global Ethics, Volume 3 Issue 02, July/August 2007.

Spence, E. (2007) What’s Right and Good about Internet Information? A Universal Model for Evaluating the Cultural Quality of Digital Information. In Larry Hinman, Philip Brey, Luciano Floridi, Frances Grodzinsky and Lucas Introna (eds.,) Proceedings of CEPE 2007, The 7th International Conference of Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry, University of San Diego, USA, July 12-14 2007, ISSN 0929-0672.

Spence, E. (2007) Plato’s Ring of Corruption. In Elizabeth Close, Michael Tsianikas, George Couvalis (Eds.) Proceedings of the 6th Biennial International Conference on Greek Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide, 23-26 June, 2005.

Simmons, P. and Spence, E. (2006) The Practice and Ethics of Media Release Journalism, Australian Journalism Review, volume 28(1), July 2006, pp.167-181.

Spence, E. (2005) Corruption in the Media. In Jeanette Kennett (ed.), Contemporary Issues in Governance: Proceedings of the GovNet Annual Conference, Melbourne: Monash University, ISBN 0-7326-2287-5.

Spence, E. (2005b) Philosophy Plays: A Neo-Stoic Way of Performing Public Philosophy. In Elizabeth Close, Michael Tsianikas and George Frazis (eds.), Greek Research in Australia: Proceedings of the Biennial Conference of Greek Studies, Flinders: Flinders University, pp. 65-80.

Spence, E. (2005c) The Commodification of Values: What Plato and Epicurus Can Teach us about Advertising Ethics – Ancient Wisdom for a New World” . In Ioanna Papasolomou (ed.) Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Corporate and Marketing Communications. Nicosia, Cyprus: Intercollege, pp. 14-29.

Spence, E. (2004) Philosophy Plays: A Neo-Stoic Method for Teaching Ethics. Utah, USA: Teaching Ethics Volume 5, Number 1, pp 41-57.

Quinn, A., and Spence, E. (2004b) Manipulation in Photojournalism: Is it Ethical? Is it Corrupt? In Anne Dunn (ed.) Proceedings: Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, Sydney: University of Sydney.

Spence, E. (2003) Conflict of Interest and Corruption. Melbourne: Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 25-36.

Spence, E. (2003b) Media Ethics: An Ethical Rationalist Approach. Melbourne: Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics Vol. 5, No. 1, June 2003, pp. 35-44.

Spence, E. (2001) The Cosmopolitan Internet. In John Weckert (ed.), Proceedings: The Second Australian Institute of Computer Ethics Conference (AICE 2000), Canberra: Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology, Vol. 1, Australian Computer Society, 2001.

Spence, E. (2000) Philosophy Plays: Philosophy and Performance. Proceedings: The Sydney Society of Literature and Aesthetics, "Mosaic: Film, Performance, Kinetic Art" (electronic version).

Spence, E. (1998) The Ethics of Clinical Trials: To Inform or Not Inform? That is the Question. Florida: Professional Ethics: A Multidisciplinary Journal vol. 6, numbers 3 and 4, pp. 173-184.

Spence, E. (1996) The Right to Die: The Rational Justification of Voluntary Euthanasia. Proceedings: The 3rd National Conference of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE).


Creative Writings

Spence, E. (forthcoming 2009) Everything That Matters: The Philosophy of Love, Freedom and Happiness. Melbourne: Nautilus Publishing. A book comprising three original plays written as part of the Philosophy Plays project which Edward Spence founded in 1997. All the plays have been performed at Cultural and Arts Festivals in Australia.

Spence, E. (2007) Wise After the Fact. A One Act Philosophy Play about the philosophy of information, knowledge and wisdom written, produced and directed by Edward Spence. The philosophy play was presented by Edward Spence and performed by actors for a public audience on August 2007 at Steki Taverna, Sydney, Australia.


Research Grants

2006-2009: Awarded a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to conduct research in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. The VICI research project was the Evaluation of the Cultural Quality of New Media and the Good Life: Towards an Integrated Philosophy of Human-Media Relations.

2000 - 2001: Awarded an ARC SPIRT Grant (1999) for collaborative research work with CSU contributors (Seumas Miller, David Biles, Tracey Green, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (Frank Perry) for “NSW Police Internal Investigations into serious drug-related offences: A quantitative and qualitative study”. Total Project Funds awarded $190,000 for 2000 and 2001. Edward’s involvement as Chief Investigator was in phase two in offering ethical analysis of relevant issues and in phase three in providing expertise in anti-corruption practices relevant in phase two.