Machines, sentience, and the scope of morality

Environmental Ethics 16 (1):57-70 (1994)
Abstract
Environmental philosophers are often concerned to show that non-sentient things, such as plants or ecosystems, have interests and therefore are appropriate objects of moral concern. They deny that mentality is a necessary condition for having interests. Yet they also deny that they are committed to recognizing interests in things like machines. I argue that either machines have interests (and hence moral standing) too or mentality is a necessary condition for inclusion within the purview of morality. I go on to argue that the aspect of mentality necessary for having interests is more complicated than mere sentience
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