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  1. Moral Status, Luck, and Modal Capacities: Debating Shelly Kagan.Harry R. Lloyd - 2021 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (2):273-287.
    Shelly Kagan has recently defended the view that it is morally worse for a human being to suffer some harm than it is for a lower animal (such as a dog or a cow) to suffer a harm that is equally severe (ceteris paribus). In this paper, I argue that this view receives rather less support from our intuitions than one might at first suppose. According to Kagan, moreover, an individual’s moral status depends partly upon her ‘modal capacities.’ In this (...)
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  • In search of the moral status of AI: why sentience is a strong argument.Martin Gibert & Dominic Martin - 2021 - AI and Society 1:1-12.
    Is it OK to lie to Siri? Is it bad to mistreat a robot for our own pleasure? Under what condition should we grant a moral status to an artificial intelligence system? This paper looks at different arguments for granting moral status to an AI system: the idea of indirect duties, the relational argument, the argument from intelligence, the arguments from life and information, and the argument from sentience. In each but the last case, we find unresolved issues with the (...)
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  • An Afro-Communitarian Relational Approach to Brain Surrogates Research.Luís Cordeiro-Rodrigues & Cornelius Ewuoso - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-14.
    Carrying out research on brains is important for medical advances in various diseases. However, such research ought not be carried out on human brains because the benefits do not outweigh the potential risks. A possible alternative is the use of brain surrogates. Nevertheless, some scholars who uphold a threshold account of moral status suggest the possibility that, with technological advances in the near future, more advanced brain surrogates will have very similar features to humans. This may suffice for these having (...)
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  • Group Agency and Artificial Intelligence.Christian List - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology:1-30.
    The aim of this exploratory paper is to review an under-appreciated parallel between group agency and artificial intelligence. As both phenomena involve non-human goal-directed agents that can make a difference to the social world, they raise some similar moral and regulatory challenges, which require us to rethink some of our anthropocentric moral assumptions. Are humans always responsible for those entities’ actions, or could the entities bear responsibility themselves? Could the entities engage in normative reasoning? Could they even have rights and (...)
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  • Why I Am a Vegan (and You Should Be One Too).Tristram McPherson - 2015 - In Philosophy Comes to Dinner. Routledge. pp. 73-91.
    This paper argues for what I call modest ethical veganism: the view that it is typically wrong to use or eat products made from or by animals such as cows, pigs, or chickens. The argument has three central parts. First, I argue that a central explanation for the wrongness of causing suffering rests upon what it is like to experience such suffering, and that we have good reasons to think that animals suffer in ways that are relevantly analogous to humans. (...)
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  • Could you hate a robot? And does it matter if you could?Helen Ryland - forthcoming - AI and Society:1-13.
    This article defends two claims. First, humans could be in relationships characterised by hate with some robots. Second, it matters that humans could hate robots, as this hate could wrong the robots. In defending this second claim, I will thus be accepting that morally considerable robots either currently exist, or will exist in the near future, and so it can matter how we treat these robots. The arguments presented in this article make an important original contribution to the robo-philosophy literature, (...)
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  • Danaher’s Ethical Behaviourism: An Adequate Guide to Assessing the Moral Status of a Robot?Jilles Smids - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (5):2849-2866.
    This paper critically assesses John Danaher’s ‘ethical behaviourism’, a theory on how the moral status of robots should be determined. The basic idea of this theory is that a robot’s moral status is determined decisively on the basis of its observable behaviour. If it behaves sufficiently similar to some entity that has moral status, such as a human or an animal, then we should ascribe the same moral status to the robot as we do to this human or animal. The (...)
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  • On the Moral Status of Social Robots: Considering the Consciousness Criterion.Kestutis Mosakas - forthcoming - AI and Society:1-15.
    While philosophers have been debating for decades on whether different entities—including severely disabled human beings, embryos, animals, objects of nature, and even works of art—can legitimately be considered as having moral status, this question has gained a new dimension in the wake of artificial intelligence. One of the more imminent concerns in the context of AI is that of the moral rights and status of social robots, such as robotic caregivers and artificial companions, that are built to interact with human (...)
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  • The Emergence and Development of Animal Research Ethics: A Review with a Focus on Nonhuman Primates.Gardar Arnason - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2277-2293.
    The ethics of using nonhuman animals in biomedical research is usually seen as a subfield of animal ethics. In recent years, however, the ethics of animal research has increasingly become a subfield within research ethics under the term “animal research ethics”. Consequently, ethical issues have become prominent that are familiar in the context of human research ethics, such as autonomy or self-determination, harms and benefits, justice, and vulnerability. After a brief overview of the development of the field and a discussion (...)
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  • Is Consciousness Intrinsically Valuable?Andrew Y. Lee - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):1–17.
    Is consciousness intrinsically valuable? Some theorists favor the positive view, according to which consciousness itself accrues intrinsic value, independent of the particular kind of experience instantiated. In contrast, I favor the neutral view, according to which consciousness is neither intrinsically valuable nor disvaluable. The primary purpose of this paper is to clarify what is at stake when we ask whether consciousness is intrinsically valuable, to carve out the theoretical space, and to evaluate the question rigorously. Along the way, I also (...)
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  • But for the Grace of God: Abortion and Cognitive Disability, Luck and Moral Status.Jonathan Surovell - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):257-277.
    Many theories of moral status that are intended to ground pro-choice views on abortion tie full moral status to advanced cognitive capabilities. Extant accounts of this kind are inconsistent with the intuition that the profoundly cognitively disabled have full moral status. This paper improves upon these extant accounts by combining an anti-luck condition with Steinbock’s stratification of moral status into two levels. On the resulting view, a being has full moral status if and only if she has moral status and (...)
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  • The Conception of Synthetic Entities From a Personalist Perspective.Lucía Gómez-Tatay, José Miguel Hernández-Andreu & Justo Aznar - 2019 - Science and Engineering Ethics 25 (1):97-111.
    Synthetic biology opens up the possibility of producing new entities not found in nature, whose classification as organisms or machines has been debated. In this paper we are focusing on the delimitation of the moral value of synthetic products, in order to establish the ethically right way to behave towards them. In order to do so, we use personalism as our ethical framework. First, we examine how we can distinguish between organisms and machines. Next, we discuss whether the products of (...)
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  • Dignity: Personal, Social, Human.Suzy Killmister - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):2063-2082.
    The goal of this paper is to sketch and defend a novel conception of dignity. I begin by offering three desiderata that a theory of dignity should be able to satisfy: it should be able to explain why all human beings are owed respect, and what kind of respect we are owed; it should be able to explain how acts such as torture damage dignity, and what kinds of harms this brings about; and finally, it should be able to explain (...)
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  • A Framework for Grounding the Moral Status of Intelligent Machines.Michael Scheessele - 2018 - AIES '18, February 2–3, 2018, New Orleans, LA, USA.
    I propose a framework, derived from moral theory, for assessing the moral status of intelligent machines. Using this framework, I claim that some current and foreseeable intelligent machines have approximately as much moral status as plants, trees, and other environmental entities. This claim raises the question: what obligations could a moral agent (e.g., a normal adult human) have toward an intelligent machine? I propose that the threshold for any moral obligation should be the "functional morality" of Wallach and Allen [20], (...)
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  • Mapping Dehumanization Studies (Preface and Introduction of Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization).Maria Kronfeldner - 2021 - In Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization. London, Vereinigtes Königreich:
    Maria Kronfeldner’s Preface and Introduction to the Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization maps the landscape of dehumanization studies. She starts with a brief portrayal of the history of the field. The systematically minded sections that follow guide the reader through the resulting rugged landscape represented in the Handbook’s contributions. Different realizations, levels, forms, and ontological contrasts of dehumanization are distinguished, followed by remarks on the variety of targets of dehumanization. A discussion on valence and emotional aspects is added. Causes, functions, and (...)
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  • The Psychological Speciesism of Humanism.Carrie Figdor - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178:1545-1569.
    Humanists argue for assigning the highest moral status to all humans over any non-humans directly or indirectly on the basis of uniquely superior human cognitive abilities. They may also claim that humanism is the strongest position from which to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of within-species discrimination. I argue that changing conceptual foundations in comparative research and discoveries of advanced cognition in many non-human species reveal humanism’s psychological speciesism and its similarity with common justifications of within-species discrimination.
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  • Relationship Between Cognition and Moral Status Needs Overhaul.Carrie Figdor - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (3):1-2.
    I commend Mikhalevich & Powell for extending the discussion of cognition and its relation to moral status with their well researched and argued target article on invertebrate cognition. I have two small criticisms: that the scala naturae still retains its appeal to some in biology as well as psychology, and that drawing the line at invertebrates requires a bit more defense given the larger comparative cognitive-scientific context.
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  • On the Margins: Personhood and Moral Status in Marginal Cases of Human Rights.Helen Ryland - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    Most philosophical accounts of human rights accept that all persons have human rights. Typically, ‘personhood’ is understood as unitary and binary. It is unitary because there is generally supposed to be a single threshold property required for personhood. It is binary because it is all-or-nothing: you are either a person or you are not. A difficulty with binary views is that there will typically be subjects, like children and those with dementia, who do not meet the threshold, and so who (...)
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  • Evolving Notions of Nonhuman Personhood: Is Moral Standing Sufficient?Dorothy Riddle - 2014 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 (3):4-19.
    Decisions regarding the attribution of personhood to nonhuman animals have implications not only for the rights held by a particular species but also for the moral obligations of humans as moral agents. Since humans decide which species are accorded moral standing; thus becoming candidates for legal standing as legal persons; we need to be aware of our own vested interests in where the boundaries of duty are drawn. This paper argues that simple determination of moral standing is not sufficient to (...)
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  • Sustainability Matrix: Interest Groups and Ethical Theories as the Basis of Decision-Making.Markus Vinnari, Eija Vinnari & Saara Kupsala - 2017 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 30 (3):349-366.
    During the past few decades, the global food system has confronted new sustainability challenges related not only to public health and the environment but also to ethical concerns over the treatment of farmed animals. However, the traditional threedimensional framework of sustainable development is ill equipped to take ethical concerns related to non-human animals into account. For instance, the interests of farmed animals are often overridden by objectives associated with social, economic or environmental sustainability, despite their vast numbers and influence on (...)
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  • The Ethical Basis for Veganism.Tristram McPherson - 2018 - In Anne Barnhill, Mark Budolfson & Tyler Doggett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter examines the ethical case that can be mounted for veganism. Because there has been comparatively little discussion in ethics focused directly on veganism, the central aim of this chapter is threefold: to orient readers to (some of) the most important philosophical literature relevant to the topic, to provide a clear explanation of the current state of the ethical case for veganism, and to focus attention on the most important outstanding or underexplored questions in this domain. The chapter examines (...)
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  • The sentience argument for experientialism about welfare.Willem van der Deijl - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):187-208.
    Can a person’s degree of wellbeing be affected by things that do not enter her experience? Experientialists deny that it can, extra-experientialists affirm it. The debate between these two positions has focused on an argument against experientialism—the experience machine objection—but few arguments exist for it. I present an argument for experientialism. It builds on the claim that theories of wellbeing should not only state what constitutes wellbeing, but also which entities are welfare subjects. Moreover, the claims it makes about these (...)
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  • Welcoming Robots Into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
    Can robots have significant moral status? This is an emerging topic of debate among roboticists and ethicists. This paper makes three contributions to this debate. First, it presents a theory – ‘ethical behaviourism’ – which holds that robots can have significant moral status if they are roughly performatively equivalent to other entities that have significant moral status. This theory is then defended from seven objections. Second, taking this theoretical position onboard, it is argued that the performative threshold that robots need (...)
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  • Objections to Simpson’s Argument in ‘Robots, Trust and War’.Carol Lord - 2019 - Ethics and Information Technology 21 (3):241-251.
    In “Robots, Trust and War” Simpson claims that victory in counter-insurgency conflicts requires that military forces and their governing body win the ‘hearts and minds’ of civilians. Consequently, forces made up primarily of autonomous robots would be ineffective in these conflicts for two reasons. Firstly, because civilians cannot rationally trust them because they cannot act from a motive based on good character. If they ever did develop this capacity then the purpose of sending them to war in our stead would (...)
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  • Who's Afraid of Trolleys?Antti Kauppinen - 2019 - In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Lontoo, Yhdistynyt kuningaskunta:
    Recent empirical studies of philosophers by Eric Schwitzgebel and others have seriously called into question whether professional ethicists have any useful expertise with thought experiments, given that their intuitions appear to be no more reliable than those of lay subjects. Drawing on such results, sceptics like Edouard Machery argue that normative ethics as it is currently practiced is deeply problematic. In this paper, I present two main arguments in defense of the standard methodology of normative ethics. First, there is strong (...)
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  • Extended Mind and Cognitive Enhancement: Moral Aspects of Cognitive Artifacts.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (1):17-32.
    This article connects philosophical debates about cognitive enhancement and situated cognition. It does so by focusing on moral aspects of enhancing our cognitive abilities with the aid of external artifacts. Such artifacts have important moral dimensions that are addressed neither by the cognitive enhancement debate nor situated cognition theory. In order to fill this gap in the literature, three moral aspects of cognitive artifacts are singled out: their consequences for brains, cognition, and culture; their moral status; and their relation to (...)
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  • Human Nature and Moral Status in Bioethics.Matthew Shea - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (2):115-131.
    The articles in this issue cover a wide range of topics, including the moral status of human embryos and human-animal chimeras and hybrids, the determination of death, theories of human cognition, and policies on the identity of mitochondrial donors. Despite this variety, there are two underlying questions that tie the articles together: what is a human being? And, what is the basis of moral status? First, I discuss these two questions and why they are important for bioethics. Then I provide (...)
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  • Against Cognitivism About Personhood.Nils-Frederic Wagner - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):657-686.
    The present paper unravels ontological and normative conditions of personhood for the purpose of critiquing ‘Cognitivist Views’. Such views have attracted much attention and affirmation by presenting the ontology of personhood in terms of higher-order cognition on the basis of which normative practices are explained and justified. However, these normative conditions are invoked to establish the alleged ontology in the first place. When we want to know what kind of entity has full moral status, it is tempting to establish an (...)
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  • Should Protections for Research with Humans Who Cannot Consent Apply to Research with Nonhuman Primates?David Wendler - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (2):157-173.
    Research studies and interventions sometimes offer potential benefits to subjects that compensate for the risks they face. Other studies and interventions, which I refer to as “nonbeneficial” research, do not offer subjects a compensating potential for benefit. These studies and interventions have the potential to exploit subjects for the benefit of others, a concern that is especially acute when investigators enroll individuals who are unable to give informed consent. US regulations for research with human subjects attempt to address this concern (...)
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  • The Moral Status of Human‐Animal Chimeras with Human Brain Cells.Julie A. Tannenbaum - 2019 - Hastings Center Report 49 (5):34-36.
    The moral status of human-animal chimeras that have human brain cells is especially concerning. The concern is that such animals have the same high moral status as human beings. Why? Julian Koplin suggests that support for this concern is based on this claim: capacities unique to humans gives one a high or full moral status. Koplin then proceeds to convincingly object this claim. However, I argue that the concern is instead based on a different claim: for those humans who do (...)
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  • The “Four Principles” at 40: What is Their Role in Introductory Bioethics Classes?Brendan Shea - manuscript
    This is the text of a paper (along with appendixes) delivered at the 2019 annual meeting of the Minnesota Philosophical Society on Oct 26 in Cambridge, MN. -/- Beauchamp and Childress’s “Four Principles” (or “Principlism”) approach to bioethics has become something of a standard not only in bioethics classrooms and journals, but also within medicine itself. In this teaching-focused workshop, I’ll be doing the following: (1) Introducing the basics of the “Four Principles” approach, with a special focus on its relation (...)
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  • Human‐Animal Chimeras: The Moral Insignificance of Uniquely Human Capacities.Julian J. Koplin - 2019 - Hastings Center Report 49 (5):23-32.
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  • Health, Moral Status, and a Minimal Speciesism.David Hershenov & Rose Hershenov - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (4):693-718.
    The potential for healthy development is the key to determining the moral status of mindless and minimally minded organisms. It even provides the basis for a defense of speciesism. Mindless and minimally minded human beings have interests in the healthy development of sophisticated mental capacities, which explains why they are greatly harmed when death, disease, and other events frustrate those interests. Since the healthy development of members of non-human species doesn’t produce the same sophisticated mental capacities, mindless and minimally minded (...)
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  • Experimental Approaches to Moral Standing.Geoffrey P. Goodwin - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):914-926.
    Moral patients deserve moral consideration and concern – they have moral standing. What factors drive attributions of moral standing? Understanding these factors is important because it indicates how broadly individuals conceptualize the moral world, and suggests how they will treat various entities, both human and non-human. This understanding has recently been advanced by a series of studies conducted by both psychologists and philosophers, which have revealed three main drivers of moral standing: the capacity to suffer, intelligence or autonomy, and the (...)
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