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
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-010-9241-3
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Auke J. K. Pols (2013). How Artefacts Influence Our Actions. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):575-587.

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