The Hacker Ethic and Meaningful Work

TitleThe Hacker Ethic and Meaningful Work
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsChance, T
Date PublishedAugust

This paper begins with the following proposition: given that we spend a large proportion of our time working, a just society will provide or encourage meaningful work. Hackers have created and broadened spaces where working life can unfold freely, so a proper analysis of the Hacker Ethic ought to be of concern both to philosophers interested in meaningful work, and to academics researching hackers and the free software community. I proceed by first developing an understanding of the Hacker Ethic that highlights a central concern of my essay, that of orientations that I characterise as self-indulgent and social placing conflicting obligations upon individuals. Using Marx's conception of alienated as a basis, I go on to show how the Hacker Ethic can to an extent overcome these conflicts by developing a more rounded understanding of the ethic. Finally I raise some concerns for the underdeveloped field of the philosophy of hacking and free software that are particularly pertinent to the paper.

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