Philosophy and Technology 33 (1):9-31 (2019)

Authors
Anco Peeters
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Abstract
This paper motivates the idea that social robots should be credited as moral patients, building on an argumentative approach that combines virtue ethics and social recognition theory. Our proposal answers the call for a nuanced ethical evaluation of human-robot interaction that does justice to both the robustness of the social responses solicited in humans by robots and the fact that robots are designed to be used as instruments. On the one hand, we acknowledge that the instrumental nature of robots and their unsophisticated social capabilities prevent any attribution of rights to robots, which are devoid of intrinsic moral dignity and personal status. On the other hand, we argue that another form of moral consideration—not based on rights attribution—can and must be granted to robots. The reason is that relationships with robots offer to the human agents important opportunities to cultivate both vices and virtues, like social interaction with other human beings. Our argument appeals to social recognition to explain why social robots, unlike other technological artifacts, are capable of establishing with their human users quasi-social relationships as pseudo-persons. This recognition dynamic justifies seeing robots as worthy of moral consideration from a virtue ethical standpoint as it predicts the pre-reflective formation of persistent affective dispositions and behavioral habits that are capable of corrupting the human user’s character. We conclude by drawing attention to a potential paradox drawn forth by our analysis and by examining the main conceptual conundrums that our approach has to face.
Keywords Virtue ethics  Social recognition theory  Social robotics  Moral consideration for robots  Moral patiency  Alienation  Habit formation  Character
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019, 2020
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s13347-019-0341-y
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

On the Morality of Artificial Agents.Luciano Floridi & J. W. Sanders - 2004 - Minds and Machines 14 (3):349-379.
The Other Question: Can and Should Robots Have Rights?David J. Gunkel - 2018 - Ethics and Information Technology 20 (2):87-99.
Exemplarist Virtue Theory.Linda Zagzebski - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1-2):41-57.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Designing Virtuous Sex Robots.Anco Peeters & Pim Haselager - 2019 - International Journal of Social Robotics:1-12.
Can We Program or Train Robots to Be Good?Amanda Sharkey - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 22 (4):283-295.
Personal Robots, Appearance, and Human Good.Mark Coeckelbergh - 2009 - International Journal of Social Robotics 1 (3):217-221.
Moral Appearances: Emotions, Robots, and Human Morality. [REVIEW]Mark Coeckelbergh - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3):235-241.
On the Moral Responsibility of Military Robots.Thomas Hellström - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):99-107.
Why Robots Should Not Be Treated Like Animals.Deborah G. Johnson & Mario Verdicchio - 2018 - Ethics and Information Technology 20 (4):291-301.
Why Collaborative Robots Must Be Social Actors.Kerstin Fischer - 2019 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 23 (3):270-289.
Can We Trust Robots?Mark Coeckelbergh - 2012 - Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):53-60.
What do we owe to intelligent robots?John-Stewart Gordon - 2020 - AI and Society 35 (1):209-223.
Modeling the Acceptance of Socially Interactive Robotics: Social Presence in Human–Robot Interaction.Dong-Hee Shin & Hyungseung Choo - 2011 - Interaction Studiesinteraction Studies Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 12 (3):430-460.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-02-22

Total views
647 ( #9,168 of 2,427,710 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
53 ( #14,737 of 2,427,710 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes