Toward a comparative theory of agents

AI and Society 27 (4):479-488 (2012)
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to address some of the questions on the notion of agent and agency in relation to property and personhood. I argue that following the Kantian criticism of Aristotelian metaphysics, contemporary biotechnology and information and communication technologies bring about a new challenge—this time, with regard to the Kantian moral subject understood in the subject’s unique metaphysical qualities of dignity and autonomy. The concept of human dignity underlies the foundation of many democratic systems, particularly in Europe as well as of international treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Digital agents, artificial organisms as well as new capabilities of the human agents related to their embeddedness in digital and biotechnological environments bring about an important transformation of the human self-appraisal. A critical comparative reflection of this transformation is important because of its ethical implications. I deal first with the concept of agent within the framework of Aristotelian philosophy, which is the basis for further theories in accordance with and/or in opposition to it, particularly since modernity. In the second part of this paper, I deal with the concept of personhood in Kantian philosophy, which supersedes the Aristotelian metaphysics of substance and builds the basis of a metaphysics of the moral human subject. In the third part, I discuss the question of artificial agents arising from modern biology and ICT. Blurring the difference between the human and the natural and/or artificial opens a “new space” for philosophical reflection as well as for debate in law and practical policy.
Keywords Agents  Information technology  Biotechnology  Autonomy  Dignity  Aristotle  Kant  Subjectivity  Personhood  Property  Ethics  Law  Policy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s00146-011-0334-6
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,606
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Bodies in Technology.Don Ihde - 2001 - Univ of Minnesota Press.
Sein Und Zeit.Martin Heidegger - 1927 - M. Niemeyer.
Berkeley's Philosophical Writings.George Berkeley - 1965 - New York: Collier Books.
The Politics of Aristotle. Aristotle - 2007 - BiblioBazaar, LLC.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Virtue, Privacy and Self-Determination.Giannis Stamatellos - 2011 - International Journal of Cyber Ethics in Education 1 (4):35-41.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Towards an Ontological Foundation of Information Ethics.Rafael Capurro - 2006 - Ethics and Information Technology 8 (4):175-186.
On Floridi's Metaphysical Foundation of Information Ecology.Rafael Capurro - 2008 - Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):167-173.
The Ethics of Designing Artificial Agents.Frances S. Grodzinsky, Keith W. Miller & Marty J. Wolf - 2008 - Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):115-121.
A Legal Analysis of Human and Electronic Agents.Steffen Wettig & Eberhard Zehender - 2004 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 12 (1-2):111-135.
Human Dignity as a Right.Shaoping Gan - 2009 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370-384.
On the Moral Equality of Artificial Agents.Christopher Wareham - 2011 - International Journal of Technoethics 2 (1):35-42.
Human Rights and Human Dignity.Schroeder Doris - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):323-335.
Human Dignity as a Right.Gan Shaoping & Zhang Lin - 2009 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370 - 384.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-08-20

Total downloads

47 ( #110,738 of 2,168,588 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #187,166 of 2,168,588 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums