Between angels and animals: The question of robot ethics, or is Kantian moral agency desirable?

Authors
Anthony Beavers
University of Evansville
Abstract
In this paper, I examine a variety of agents that appear in Kantian ethics in order to determine which would be necessary to make a robot a genuine moral agent. However, building such an agent would require that we structure into a robot’s behavioral repertoire the possibility for immoral behavior, for only then can the moral law, according to Kant, manifest itself as an ought, a prerequisite for being able to hold an agent morally accountable for its actions. Since building a moral robot requires the possibility of immoral behavior, I go on to argue that we cannot morally want robots to be genuine moral agents, but only beings that simulate moral behavior. Finally, I raise but do not answer the question that if morality requires us to want robots that are not genuine moral agents, why should we want something different in the case of human beings
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