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Ryan Tonkens [9]Ryan S. Tonkens [2]
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Profile: Ryan Tonkens (Dalhousie University)
  1. Ryan Tonkens (forthcoming). Parental Virtue and Prenatal Genetic Alteration Research. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry:1-14.
    Although the philosophical literature on the ethics of human prenatal genetic alteration purports to inform us about how to act, it rarely explicitly recognizes the perspective of those who will be making the PGA decision in practice. Here I approach the ethics of PGA from a distinctly virtue-based perspective, taking seriously what it means to be a good parent making this decision for one’s child. From this perspective, I generate a sound verdict on the moral standing of human PGA : (...)
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  2. Ryan Tonkens (forthcoming). Review: Timothy F. Murphy, Ethics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices About Children. [REVIEW] Philosophical Explorations.
  3. Marc Champagne & Ryan Tonkens (2015). Bridging the Responsibility Gap in Automated Warfare. Philosophy and Technology 28 (1):125-137.
    Sparrow argues that military robots capable of making their own decisions would be independent enough to allow us denial for their actions, yet too unlike us to be the targets of meaningful blame or praise—thereby fostering what Matthias has dubbed “the responsibility gap.” We agree with Sparrow that someone must be held responsible for all actions taken in a military conflict. That said, we think Sparrow overlooks the possibility of what we term “blank check” responsibility: A person of sufficiently high (...)
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  4. Ryan Tonkens (2014). Mistakes and Kidneys. American Journal of Bioethics 14 (10):42-44.
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  5. Ryan Tonkens (2014). Murphy , Timothy F. Ethics 124 (2):431-435.
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  6. Ryan Tonkens (2013). Should Autonomous Robots Be Pacifists? Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):109-123.
    Currently, the central questions in the philosophical debate surrounding the ethics of automated warfare are (1) Is the development and use of autonomous lethal robotic systems for military purposes consistent with (existing) international laws of war and received just war theory?; and (2) does the creation and use of such machines improve the moral caliber of modern warfare? However, both of these approaches have significant problems, and thus we need to start exploring alternative approaches. In this paper, I ask whether (...)
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  7. Ryan Tonkens (2012). Out of Character: On the Creation of Virtuous Machines. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 14 (2):137-149.
    The emerging discipline of Machine Ethics is concerned with creating autonomous artificial moral agents that perform ethically significant actions out in the world. Recently, Wallach and Allen (Moral machines: teaching robots right from wrong, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009) and others have argued that a virtue-based moral framework is a promising tool for meeting this end. However, even if we could program autonomous machines to follow a virtue-based moral framework, there are certain pressing ethical issues that need to be taken (...)
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  8. Ryan Tonkens (2012). The Case Against Robotic Warfare: A Response to Arkin. Journal of Military Ethics 11 (2):149-168.
    Abstract Semi-autonomous robotic weapons are already carving out a role for themselves in modern warfare. Recently, Ronald Arkin has argued that autonomous lethal robotic systems could be more ethical than humans on the battlefield, and that this marks a significant reason in favour of their development and use. Here I offer a critical response to the position advanced by Arkin. Although I am sympathetic to the spirit of the motivation behind Arkin's project and agree that if we decide to develop (...)
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  9. Ryan Tonkens (2009). A Challenge for Machine Ethics. Minds and Machines 19 (3):421-438.
    That the successful development of fully autonomous artificial moral agents (AMAs) is imminent is becoming the received view within artificial intelligence research and robotics. The discipline of Machines Ethics, whose mandate is to create such ethical robots, is consequently gaining momentum. Although it is often asked whether a given moral framework can be implemented into machines, it is never asked whether it should be. This paper articulates a pressing challenge for Machine Ethics: To identify an ethical framework that is both (...)
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  10. Ryan S. Tonkens (2007). A Reply to Cholbi's 'Suicide Intervention and Non-Ideal Kantian Theory'. Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (4):397–407.
  11. Ryan S. Tonkens, Perfect Duties in the Face of Human Imperfection: A Critical Examination of Kant's Ethic of Suicide.
    The purpose of this work is to offer a critical examination of Immanuel Kant's ethic of suicide. Kant's suicidology marks an influential view regarding the moral stature of suicide, yet one that remains incomplete in important respects. Because Kant's moral views are rationalistic, they restrict moral consideration to rational entities. Many people who commit suicide are not rational at the time of its commission, for they suffer from severe mental illness. Because of this, Kant's suicidology devastatingly excludes certain human demographics (...)
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