Advanced

Moral Agency, Moral Responsibility, and Artifacts : What Existing Artifacts Fail to Achieve (and Why), and Why They, Nevertheless, Can (and Do!) Make Moral Claims Upon Us

Parthemore, Joel LU and Whitby, Blay (2014) In International Journal of Machine Consciousness 6(2).
Abstract
This paper follows directly from an earlier paper where we discussed the requirements for an artifact to be a moral agent and concluded that the artifactual question is ultimately a red herring. As before, we take moral agency to be that condition in which an agent can appropriately be held responsible for her actions and their consequences. We set a number of stringent conditions on moral agency. A moral agent must be embedded in a cultural and specifically moral context and embodied in a suitable physical form. It must be, in some substantive sense, alive. It must exhibit self-conscious awareness. It must exhibit sophisticated conceptual abilities, going well beyond what the likely majority of conceptual agents possess: not least that it... (More)
This paper follows directly from an earlier paper where we discussed the requirements for an artifact to be a moral agent and concluded that the artifactual question is ultimately a red herring. As before, we take moral agency to be that condition in which an agent can appropriately be held responsible for her actions and their consequences. We set a number of stringent conditions on moral agency. A moral agent must be embedded in a cultural and specifically moral context and embodied in a suitable physical form. It must be, in some substantive sense, alive. It must exhibit self-conscious awareness. It must exhibit sophisticated conceptual abilities, going well beyond what the likely majority of conceptual agents possess: not least that it must possess a well-developed moral space of reasons. Finally, it must be able to communicate its moral agency through some system of signs: a “private” moral world is not enough. After reviewing these conditions and pouring cold water on recent claims for having achieved “minimal” machine consciousness, we turn our attention to a number of existing and, in some cases, commonplace artifacts that lack moral agency yet nevertheless require one to take a moral stance toward them, as if they were moral agents. Finally, we address another class of agents raising a related set of issues: autonomous military robots. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
moral agency, moral stance, responsibility, concepts, consciousness, autopoiesis
in
International Journal of Machine Consciousness
volume
6
issue
2
publisher
World Scientific
external identifiers
  • scopus:84906890413
ISSN
1793-8430
DOI
10.1142/S1793843014400162
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c9637d84-6e94-4c3f-8ec9-8bfbce7690ec (old id 4496359)
date added to LUP
2014-06-27 14:41:16
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:07:56
@article{c9637d84-6e94-4c3f-8ec9-8bfbce7690ec,
  abstract     = {This paper follows directly from an earlier paper where we discussed the requirements for an artifact to be a moral agent and concluded that the artifactual question is ultimately a red herring. As before, we take moral agency to be that condition in which an agent can appropriately be held responsible for her actions and their consequences. We set a number of stringent conditions on moral agency. A moral agent must be embedded in a cultural and specifically moral context and embodied in a suitable physical form. It must be, in some substantive sense, alive. It must exhibit self-conscious awareness. It must exhibit sophisticated conceptual abilities, going well beyond what the likely majority of conceptual agents possess: not least that it must possess a well-developed moral space of reasons. Finally, it must be able to communicate its moral agency through some system of signs: a “private” moral world is not enough. After reviewing these conditions and pouring cold water on recent claims for having achieved “minimal” machine consciousness, we turn our attention to a number of existing and, in some cases, commonplace artifacts that lack moral agency yet nevertheless require one to take a moral stance toward them, as if they were moral agents. Finally, we address another class of agents raising a related set of issues: autonomous military robots.},
  author       = {Parthemore, Joel and Whitby, Blay},
  issn         = {1793-8430},
  keyword      = {moral agency,moral stance,responsibility,concepts,consciousness,autopoiesis},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  publisher    = {World Scientific},
  series       = {International Journal of Machine Consciousness},
  title        = {Moral Agency, Moral Responsibility, and Artifacts : What Existing Artifacts Fail to Achieve (and Why), and Why They, Nevertheless, Can (and Do!) Make Moral Claims Upon Us},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S1793843014400162},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2014},
}