From Sex Robots to Love Robots: Is Mutual Love with a Robot Possible?

In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social Implications and Ethical. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (forthcoming)

Lily Frank
Eindhoven University of Technology
Sven Nyholm
Utrecht University
Some critics of sex-robots worry that their use might spread objectifying attitudes about sex, and common sense places a higher value on sex within love-relationships than on casual sex. If there could be mutual love between humans and sex-robots, this could help to ease the worries about objectifying attitudes. And mutual love between humans and sex-robots, if possible, could also help to make this sex more valuable. But is mutual love between humans and robots possible, or even conceivable? We discuss three clusters of ideas and associations commonly discussed within the philosophy of love, and relate these to the topic of whether mutual love could be achieved between humans and sex-robots: (i) the idea of love as a “good match”; (ii) the idea of valuing each other in our distinctive particularity; and (iii) the idea of a steadfast commitment. We consider relations among these ideas and the sort of agency and free will that we attribute to human romantic partners. Our conclusion is that mutual love between humans and advanced sex-robots is not an altogether impossible proposition. However, it is unlikely that we will be able to create robots sophisticated enough to be able to participate in love-relationships anytime soon.
Keywords Love  Sex  Robots  Free will  Commitment
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,607
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Welcoming Robots Into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.Vincent C. Müller - 2020 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Palo Alto, Cal.: CSLI, Stanford University. pp. 1-70.
The Quantified Relationship.John Danaher, Sven Nyholm & Brian D. Earp - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):3-19.
Experimental Philosophy of Technology.Steven R. Kraaijeveld - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34:993-1012.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What Should We Want From a Robot Ethic.Peter M. Asaro - 2006 - International Review of Information Ethics 6 (12):9-16.
On the Moral Responsibility of Military Robots.Thomas Hellström - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):99-107.
Can We Trust Robots?Mark Coeckelbergh - 2012 - Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):53-60.
Love’s Vision.Troy Jollimore - 2011 - Princeton University Press.
Moral Appearances: Emotions, Robots, and Human Morality. [REVIEW]Mark Coeckelbergh - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3):235-241.
Military Robots and the Question of Responsibility.Lamber Royakkers & Peter Olsthoorn - 2014 - International Journal of Technoethics 5 (1):01-14.


Added to PP index

Total views
21 ( #539,657 of 2,533,644 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #389,210 of 2,533,644 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes