Can Technological Artefacts Be Moral Agents?

Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (3):411-424 (2011)
In this paper we discuss the hypothesis that, ‘moral agency is distributed over both humans and technological artefacts’, recently proposed by Peter-Paul Verbeek. We present some arguments for thinking that Verbeek is mistaken. We argue that artefacts such as bridges, word processors, or bombs can never be (part of) moral agents. After having discussed some possible responses, as well as a moderate view proposed by Illies and Meijers, we conclude that technological artefacts are neutral tools that are at most bearers of instrumental value
Keywords Artefact  Moral status  Moral relevance  Moral agent  Verbeek
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11948-010-9241-3
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Auke J. K. Pols (2013). How Artefacts Influence Our Actions. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):575-587.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jos de Mul (2010). Moral Machines. Techne 14 (3):226-236.
Michael J. Almeida (2008). On Vague Eschatology. Faith and Philosophy 25 (4):359-375.
Paul Shapiro (2006). Moral Agency in Other Animals. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):357-373.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

19 ( #147,771 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.