Charles Melvin Ess

Bilde av Charles Melvin Ess
English version of this page
Telefon +47-22850404
Besøksadresse Gaustadalléen 21 Forskningsparken 0349 Oslo
Postadresse Postboks 1093 Blindern 0317 OSLO

I research, publish, and teach at the intersections of philosophy, computational technologies, applied ethics, comparative philosophy and religion, and media studies, with particular focus on: research ethics, Digital Religion, and virtue ethics in media and communication, specifically social robots.
A recent publication – “What’s Love Got to Do with It? Robots, sexuality, and the arts of being human,” (in M. Nørskov (ed.), Social Robots: Boundaries, Potential, Challenges, 57-79, Ashgate, 2015) – summarizes some 30 years of work on enduring distinctions between what human beings and AI/robots are capable of, highlighting the role of real emotions and virtues as defining human friendship, love, and being human in digital and post-digital democratic societies.


My formal education was in languages (German, classical Greek, French) and history of philosophy, with specific interests in existential thought, comparative philosophy, and applied ethics.  My PhD (1983) is from the Pennsylvania State University and explores Kant’s use of analogical predication as a systematic ambiguity central to his Critical Project, including his accounts of aesthetic judgment, ethics, and faith-reason relationships.  In the U.S., I taught and administered for nearly three decades in the liberal arts traditions, including interdisciplinary humanities and writing across the curriculum.   My long-standing interests in technology and computation took focus in early work on hypertext, hypermedia, and computer-assisted instruction in logic: these led in turn to work in Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC); Medium Theory (Innis, McLuhan, Ong, Eisenstein, Postman, Meyerwitz); cultural intersections with technology and communication; and their subsequent unfoldings as Internet Studies.

I am especially interested in making philosophical ethics accessible and applicable to non-philosophers – whether in more professional contexts such as developing and applying research ethics guidelines (especially in affiliation with the Association of Internet Researchers), or in more general contexts, as reflected in my volume Digital Media Ethics, 2nd ed. (Polity, 2013). This interest is further apparent in teaching.

Teaching and tutoring

MEVIT 4614 – Pornography, Protection, Power: Internet Content Regulation - Protection or Censorship?

JOUR 4330 - Freedom of expression – discourses, principles and practices.

Both courses focus on core principles of human autonomy, privacy, and freedom of expression in democratic societies, and how these may be protected, if not enhanced, in the face of contemporary challenges and problems, such as surveillance, hate speech, corporate censorship, and so on.

Special fields

  • Internet Studies
  • Digital Media Ethics
  • Internet Research Ethics
  • Democratization potentials of new media
  • Online religion
  • Cross-cultural approaches to online communication and ethics

Beyond the University

Special scientific advisor, DIGMEX (Digital Media and EXistential issues and challenges).

workshops on research ethics for graduates and professionals;
Ethics advisor to two current EU research projects, VOXPOL (Virtual Centre of Excellence for research in Violent Online Political Extremism), and HUMANE (A typology, method and roadmap for HUman-MAchine NEtworks Focusing on human-machine relationship).

Founding Member of the Computing and Philosophy conferences - now the International Association for Computing and Philosophy: I have organized an extensive range of conferences in collaboration with IACAP, International Society for Ethics in Technology (INSEIT), and ETHICOMP.

Editorial Boards

Oxford Internet Institute Studies – Understanding life online (book series).

Digital Humanities Introductions: Religion (DeGruyter)

Journal editorial boards:  new media and society; Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication; Philosophy and Technology;  Asian Communication Research; Javnost-The Pubic;  International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics.

Higher education and employment history

Previous academic positions include Distinguished Research Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Drury University (Springfield, Missouri, USA) and several guest professorships in Germany, Austria, France, and Scandinavia, including Guest Professor, Philosophy Department, University of Vienna. Fall semester, 2013.

Professor in Media Studies, Department of Media and Communication since 2012.

Emneord: Medier og kommunikasjon, Nye Medier, Informasjonsetikk, Demokratisering, Medier og religion


  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era, 89-109. Springer, 2015, In  The Onlife Manifesto. Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era.  Springer.  ISBN 978-3-319-04093-6.  Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era.  s 89 - 109
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). Choose Now! Media, Literacies, Identities, Politics, In  The Routledge Handbook of Language and Digital Communication.  Routledge.  ISBN 9780415642491.  Kapittel.  s 412 - 416
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). Commentary on the Onlife Manifesto, In  The Onlife Manifesto: Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era.  Springer.  ISBN 978-3-319-04093-6.  Kapittel.  s 17 - 19
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). Media innovations: success and paradox. Journal of Media Innovations.  ISSN 1894-5562.  2(2), s 1- 5 . doi:
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). New selves, new research ethics?, In  Internet Research Ethics.  Cappelen Damm Akademisk.  ISBN 9788202480356.  Chapter 3.  s 48 - 76
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). The Good Life: Selfhood and Virtue Ethics in the Digital Age, In  Communication and «The Good Life».  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-2856-1.  Kapittel.  s 17 - 29
  • Stahl, Bernd & Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). 20 years of ETHICOMP: time to celebrate?. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society.  ISSN 1477-996X.  13(3/4), s 166- 175 . doi:
  • Ess, Charles (2014). Ethics at the Boundaries of the Virtual, In  The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality.  Oxford University Press.  ISBN 978-0-19-982616-2.  Chapter 41.  s 683 - 697
  • Ess, Charles (2014). Trust, Social Identity, and Computation, In  Trust, Computing, and Society.  Cambridge University Press.  ISBN 978-1-107-03847-9.  Chapter 9.  s 199 - 226
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2014). Editor's Introduction: Innovations in the newsroom - and beyond. Journal of Media Innovations.  ISSN 1894-5562.  1(2), s 1- 9
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2014). Ethics in Digital Media, In  Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media.  Johns Hopkins University Press.  ISBN 9781421412245.  Kapittel.  s 183 - 188
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2014). Introduction to Inaugural Issue. Journal of Media Innovations.  ISSN 1894-5562.  1(1), s 1- 12
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2014). Selfhood, moral agency, and the good life in mediatized worlds? Perspectives from Medium Theory and philosophy, In  Mediatization of communication.  Mouton de Gruyter.  ISBN 978-3-11-027193-5.  Kapittel.  s 617 - 640
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2014). Zwischen zwei Stühlen sitzen – oder drei, oder…, I:  Soziale Medien – Neue Massen?.  Akademie Verlag.  ISBN 978-3-03734-748-5.  Kapittel.  s 357 - 363
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Global Media Ethics? Issues, Requirements, Challenges, Resolutions, In  Global Media Ethics: Problems and Perspectives.  Wiley-Blackwell.  ISBN 978-1-118-35982-2.  Chapter 13.  s 253 - 271
  • Ess, Charles Melvin & Fossheim, Hallvard (2013). Personal Data: Changing Selves, Changing Privacies, In  Digital Enlightenment Yearbook 2013: The Value of Personal Data.  IOS Press.  ISBN 9781614992943.  kap. 2.
  • Cheong, Pauline Hope & Ess, Charles Melvin (2012). Introduction: Religion 2.0? Relational and Hybridizing Pathways in Religion, Social Media, and Culture, In  Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture. Perspectives, Practices and Futures.  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-1474-8.  1. Introduction.  s 1 - 21
  • Lomborg, Stine & Ess, Charles Melvin (2012). “Keeping the Line Open and Warm”: An Activist Danish Church and Its Presence on Facebook, In  Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture. Perspectives, Practices and Futures.  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-1474-8.  10..  s 169 - 190
  • Thorseth, May & Ess, Charles (2010). Global information and computer ethics, In  The Cambridge handbook of information and computer ethics.  Cambridge University Press.  ISBN 978-0-521-88898-1.  Part III, chapter 10.  s 163 - 181
  • Thorseth, May; Ess, Charles & Søraker, Johnny Hartz (2010). Introduction. Mobile/ubiquitous computing: dreams and nightmares. Etikk i praksis.  ISSN 1890-3991.  4(2), s 3- 11
  • Thorseth, May & Ess, Charles (2008). Kant and information ethics. Ethics and Information Technology.  ISSN 1388-1957.  10(4), s 205- 211 . doi: 10.1007/s10676-008-9158-6
  • Ess, Charles (2007). Bridging Cultures: Theoretical and Practical Approaches to Unity and Diversity Online.. International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction.  ISSN 1548-3908.  3(3)
  • Ess, Charles (2007). Can the Local Reshape the Global? Ethical Imperatives for Humane Intercultural Communication Online., In  Localizing the Internet: Ethical Aspects in an Intercultural Perspective.  Wilhelm Fink Verlag.  ISBN 978-3-7705-4200-0.  Part 3.  s 153 - 169
  • Ess, Charles (2007). Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Religion and Computer-Mediated Communication. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.  ISSN 1083-6101.  12(3)
  • Ess, Charles (2007). Liberal Arts and Distance Education: Can Socratic Virtue (arete) and Confucius' Exemplary Person (junzi) Be Taught Online?, In  Brave New Classrooms: Educational Democracy and the Internet.  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-0-8204-8123-4.  11.  s 189 - 212
  • Ess, Charles; Kawabalta, A & Kurosaki, H (2007). Cross-cultural perspectives on religion and computer-mediated communication. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.  ISSN 1083-6101.  12
  • Thorseth, May & Ess, Charles (2006). Neither relativism nor imperialism: Thories and practics for a global information ethics. Ethics and Information Technology.  ISSN 1388-1957.  8, s 91- 95

Se alle arbeider i Cristin

  • van der Velden, Maja; Strano, Michele; Hrachovec, Herbert; Abdelnour-Nocera, José & Ess, Charles Melvin (2016). CATaC 2016 Culture, Technology, Communication: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Culture, Technology, Communication - Common world, different futures?. CaTaC, Culture, Technology, and Communication.  ISBN 978-82-999770-1-2.  272 s.
  • Strano, Michele; Hrachovec, Herbert; Suely, Fragoso; Ess, Charles Melvin & van der Velden, Maja (2014). Ninth International Conference on Culture, Technology, and Communication 2014. Culture Technology Communication.  ISBN 978-82-999770-0-5.  251 s.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Digital Media Ethics. Revised and updated second edition. Polity Press.  ISBN 978-0-7456-5606-9.  320 s.
  • Ess, Charles & Consalvo, Mia (2013). The Handbook of Internet Studies. Wiley-Blackwell.  ISBN 978-1-118-40007-4.  509 s.
  • Cheong, Pauline, Hope; Fischer-Nielsen, Peter; Gelfgren, Stefan & Ess, Charles (2012). Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture. Perspectives, Practices and Futures. Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-1474-8.  344 s.
  • Strano, Michelle; Hrachovec, Herbert; Sudweeks, Fay & Ess, Charles (2012). Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication 2012. Murdoch University.  ISBN 9781921877025.  530 s.
  • Cheong, Pauline, Hope; Fischer-Nielsen, Peter; Gelfgren, Stefan & Ess, Charles Melvin (2012). Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture: Perspectives, Practices and Futures. Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-1474-8.
  • Consalvo, Mia & Ess, Charles (2011). The Handbook of Internet Studies. Wiley-Blackwell.  ISBN 9781405185882.  512 s.
  • Thorseth, May & Ess, Charles (2011). Trust and Virtual Worlds. Contemporary Perspectives. Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-0923-2.  193 s.
  • Sudweeks, Fay; Hrachovec, Herbert & Ess, Charles (2010). Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication 2010. School of Information Technology, Murdoch University.  ISBN 978-0-86905-966-1.  467 s.
  • Thorseth, May & Ess, Charles (2009). Technology in a Multicultural and Global Society. Worldwide Communication Online. Lambert Academic Publishing.  ISBN 978-3-8383-0331-4.  145 s.
  • Sudweeks, fay; hrachovec, herbert & Ess, Charles (2008). Cultural Attitudes towards technology and communication. School of Information Technology, Murdoch University.  ISBN 978-0-86905-948-7.  738 s.
  • Sudweeks, Fay; Hrachovec, Herbert & Ess, Charles (2008). Cultural attitudes towards technology and communication 2008. Murdoch University.  ISBN 978-0-86905-948-7.  738 s.
  • Ess, Charles & Hongladarom, Soraj (2007). Information Technology Ethics: Cultural Perspectives. IGI Global.  ISBN 1599043106.  260 s.
  • Hongladaram, Soraj & Ess, Charles (2007). Information Technology Ethics: Cultural Perspectives. Idea Group Publishing.  ISBN 1599043106.  260 s.
  • Ess, Charles & Hongladarom, Soraj (2006). Information Technology Ethics: Cultural Perspectives. Idea Group Publishing.  ISBN 1599043106.  300 s.
  • sudweeks, fay; Hrachovec, Herbert & Ess, Charles (2006). Cultural Attitudes Towards Technology and Communication 2006. School of Information Technology, Murdoch University.  ISBN 0869059688.  706 s.
  • Thorseth, May & Ess, Charles (2005). Technology in a multicultural. Program for anvendt etikk.  ISBN 82-471-6029-3.  145 s.

Se alle arbeider i Cristin

  • Pfadenhauer, Michaela; Sugiyama, Satomi & Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). Editorial [introduction]: Special Issue of IJSR on Social Robots: Form, Content, Critique.. International Journal of Social Robotics.  ISSN 1875-4791.  7(3), s 333- 334 . doi: http://doi.10.1007/s12369-015-0291-1
  • Simon, Judith & Ess, Charles Melvin (2015). The ONLIFE Initiative—a Concept Reengineering Exercise. Philosophy & Technology.  ISSN 2210-5433.  28(1), s 157- 162 . doi: 10.1007/s13347-015-0189-8
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Being Human and Making Society in the Digital Age: Privacy in Light of Hannah Arendt".
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Ethics and the Media: An Introduction. New Media and Society.  ISSN 1461-4448.  15(1), s 149- 152 . doi: 10.1177/1461444812459453
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Freedom of Expression in the era of Onlife.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Internet Studies: Futures of the Field.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Media Innovation - Norway.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Medium Theory and the Relational Self.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Mobile Media and Communication Research: at the Intersections between Methods and Ethics.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). New identities - self-presentations, privacies, and autonomies.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Relational understandings of privacy and responsibility in research ethics.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Research Ethics at the Meso-Level.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Research Ethics at the Micro-level.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Research ethics at the edge: case-studies and new directions.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Robots and Humans as Virtuous Agents? Core questions and challenges.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). Selfhood, moral agency, and the good life in mediatized worlds. Perspectives from Medium Theory and philosophy.
  • Ess, Charles (2013). The End of Privacy? New research apps, new research ethics.
  • Ess, Charles & Dutton, William (2013). Internet Studies: Perspectives on a rapidly developing field. New Media and Society.  ISSN 1461-4448.  15(5), s 633- 643 . doi: 10.1177/1461444812462845
  • Ess, Charles (2012). At the Intersections Between Internet Studies and Philosophy: “Who Am I Online?” (Introduction to special issue). Philosophy & Technology.  ISSN 2210-5433.  25(3), s 275- 284 . doi: DOI 10.1007/s13347-012-0085-4
  • Ess, Charles (2012). Changing Media, Changing Selves: Ethics, Politics, and Research Ethics in the “Onlife” era.
  • Ess, Charles (2012). Foreword, In  Digital Ethics: Research and Practice.  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-1895-1.  Foreword.  s ix - xix
  • Ess, Charles (2012). The Good Life and the Internet? Critical Spaces between Huxley and Orwell.
  • Ess, Charles (2012). Who are we online? The ethical, religious, and political futures of socially mediated selves.
  • Ess, Charles Melvin (2012). Foreword, In  New Media and Intercultural Communication: Identity, Community and Politics.  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-1365-9.  Foreword.  s xi - xx
  • Ess, Charles & Thorseth, May (2011). Trust and Virtual Worlds. Introduction, In  Trust and Virtual Worlds. Contemporary Perspectives.  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-1-4331-0923-2.  Trust and Virtual Worlds..  s vii - xxixx

Se alle arbeider i Cristin

Publisert 29. aug. 2012 11:29 - Sist endret 30. mai. 2016 13:15