Does the Machine Need a Ghost? Corporate Agents as Nonconscious Kantian Moral Agents

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (1):67-86 (2018)
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Abstract

Does Kantian moral agency require phenomenal consciousness? More to the point, can firms be Kantian moral agents—bound by Kantian obligations—in the absence of consciousness? After sketching the mechanics of my account of corporate agents, I consider three increasingly demanding accounts of Kantian moral agency, concluding that corporate agents can meet each successively higher threshold. They can act on universalizable principles and treat humanity as an end in itself; give such principlesto themselves,treattheir own‘humanity’ as an end itself, and act out of respect for the law; and to the extent necessary, draw on empathically generated information and insights to inflect their performance, all in the absence of phenomenal consciousness. I close by rejecting two further arguments that phenomenal consciousness is nonetheless conceptually or practically necessary for Kantian moral agency.

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Author's Profile

Kendy Hess
College of the Holy Cross

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On Social Facts.Margaret Gilbert - 1989 - Ethics 102 (4):853-856.
The Corporation as a Moral Person.Peter A. French - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (3):207 - 215.

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