Faculty Emeriti | Dr. Herman T. Tavani


Dr. Herman T. Tavani has been teaching philosophy courses at Rivier University since 1980. Having retired from full–time teaching in 2011, he continues to teach each year at Rivier, in a part-time role, as an emeritus professor. He previously served for many years as Chair of Rivier’s Philosophy Department and as Director of the University’s Liberal Studies Program.

During his tenure as a Rivier professor, Dr. Tavani also held academic appointments at Dartmouth College where he was a visiting scholar and associate research fellow, and at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health where he was a visiting scholar in environmental health ethics for more than 20 years.

Professor Tavani is the author of Ethics and Technology, a textbook that is widely used in many countries and currently in its fifth edition (2016). He has also written, edited, or co-edited five other books: Readings in CyberEthics (2001; 2nd ed. 2004); Intellectual Property Rights in a Networked World (2005); Ethics, Computing, and Genomics (2006); The Handbook on Information and Computer Ethics (2008); and Elements of Reasoning: A Short Introduction (2009). His academic publications also include more than 100 journal articles, encyclopedia entries, review essays, book reviews, bibliographies, and edited volumes.

A traveled speaker, Dr. Tavani has presented more than 100 conference papers, keynote addresses, and invited talks at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and in eleven countries in Europe and Asia.

Professor Tavani currently serves on the editorial and review boards of numerous academic journals. He has been the Book Review Editor of the journal of Ethics and Information Technology since 1998 and has also previously served as an associate editor of Computers and Society.

Active in several professional academic organizations, Dr. Tavani served as an executive director and later as President of the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology. He served two terms as President of the Northern New England Philosophical Association, and also served on advisory and steering committees of the American Philosophical Association and the International Association for Computing and Philosophy.

Dr. Tavani has been honored with a wide range of awards for his teaching, writing, research, and professional service. He recently received the 2019 Weizenbaum Award for his “significant contributions to the field of information and computer ethics, through his research, service, and vision” over a 25–year period.


  • Ph.D., Temple University
  • M.A., West Chester University
  • B.A., West Chester University


  • AI Ethics
  • Philosophy and Technology
  • Information /Computer Ethics
  • Public Health Ethics
  • Critical Reasoning/Informal Logic

Courses Taught

  • PHI 341 Junior Year Seminar Ethics and Technology
  • PHI 228 Philosophy and Computers
  • PHI 227 Computer Ethics
  • PHI 223 Technology, Values, and Society
  • PHI 209 Contemporary Moral Issues
  • PHI 205 Theories of Ethics
  • PHI 115 First-Year Seminar Reasoning
  • PHI 101 Introduction to Critical Reasoning

Recent Publications and Proceedings

  1.  “Expanding the ICT-Ethics Framework in an Era of AI.” Journal of Information Ethics, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2020 [in press].
  2. “Responding to Some Challenges Posed by the Re-identification of Anonymized Personal Data” (with Frances Grodzinsky). In D. Wittkower (Ed.), Computer Ethics – Philosophical Enquiry (CEPE) Proceedings, 2019 (14 pp.). [Available at: https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/cepe_proceedings/vol2019/iss1/2/.]
  3. “Can Social Robots Qualify for Moral Consideration? Reframing the Question about Robot Rights.” Information, Vol. 9, 2018, pp. 1-16. [Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2078-2489/9/4/73/htm.]
  4. “Should We Have a Right to Be Forgotten? An Analysis of Some Key Arguments Addressing this Question.” Journal of Information Ethics, Vol. 27, 2018, No. 2, pp. 26-46. [Available at: https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P4-2161594981/should-we-have-a-right-to-be-forgotten-a-critique.]
  5. “Incorporating a Critical Reasoning Component into the ICT–Ethics Methodological Framework.” Journal for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2017. [Available at: https://www.orbit-rri.org/ojs/index.php/orbit/article/view/55.]
  6. “Levels of Trust in the Context of Machine Ethics.” Philosophy and Technology, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2015, pp. 75-90. [Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13347-014-0165-8.]
  7. “Autonomy and Trust in the Context of Artificial Agents” (with Jeff Buechner). In Evolutionary Robotics, Organic Computing and Adaptive Ambience. (Edited by Mathias Gutmann, Michael Decker, and Julia Knifka). Berlin, Germany: LIT Verlag, 2015, pp. 29-52. [Available at: https://www.lit-verlag.de/publikationen/philosophie/65725/evolutionary-robotics-organic-computing-and-adaptive-ambience.]
  8. “Trust, Betrayal, and Whistle-Blowing: Reflections on the Edward Snowden Case” (with Frances Grodzinsky). Computers and Society, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2014, pp. 8-13. [Available at: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/2684097.2684100.]
  9. “DNA Databanks and Informed Consent” (with Maria Bottis). In Bioinformatics Law: Legal Issues for Computational Biology in the Post-Genome Era (Edited by Jorge L. Contreras and A. James Cuticchia). Chicago, IL: ABA (American Bar Association) Publishers, 2013, pp. 179-188. [Available at: https://www.americanbar.org/products/ecd/ebk/219607/.]
  10. “Search Engines and Ethics.” In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Edited by Edward N. Zalta), 2012. [Updated and substantially revised in 2016 and in 2020; Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-search/.].]