Robots and human dignity: a consideration of the effects of robot care on the dignity of older people

Ethics and Information Technology 16 (1):63-75 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between dignity and robot care for older people. It highlights the disquiet that is often expressed about failures to maintain the dignity of vulnerable older people, but points out some of the contradictory uses of the word ‘dignity’. Certain authors have resolved these contradictions by identifying different senses of dignity; contrasting the inviolable dignity inherent in human life to other forms of dignity which can be present to varying degrees. The Capability Approach (CA) is introduced as a different but tangible account of what it means to live a life worthy of human dignity. It is used here as a framework for the assessment of the possible effects of eldercare robots on human dignity. The CA enables the identification of circumstances in which robots could enhance dignity by expanding the set of capabilities that are accessible to frail older people. At the same time, it is also possible within its framework to identify ways in which robots could have a negative impact, by impeding the access of older people to essential capabilities. It is concluded that the CA has some advantages over other accounts of dignity, but that further work and empirical study is needed in order to adapt it to the particular circumstances and concerns of those in the latter part of their lives.

Similar books and articles

Practical Dignity in Caring.L. H. Toiviainen & D. Seedhouse - 1998 - Nursing Ethics 5 (3):246-255.
Dignity in Long-Term Care for Older Persons: A Confucian Perspective.J. T. L. Po Wah - 2007 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32 (5):465-481.
Dignity in Long-Term Care for Older Persons: A Confucian Perspective.Julia Tao Lai Po Wah - 2007 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32 (5):465 – 481.
Reflections on the Function of Dignity in the Context of Caring for Old People.George J. Agich - 2007 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32 (5):483 – 494.
The Basis and Relevance of Emotional Dignity.David Badcott - 2003 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 6 (2):123-131.
Death with Dignity.P. Allmark - 2002 - Journal of Medical Ethics 28 (4):255-257.
Analyzing Dignity: A Perspective From the Ethics of Care.Carlo Leget - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (4):945-952.
Human Dignity, and the Transformation of Moral Rights Into Legal Rights.Hans Jörg Sandkühler - 2010 - Iris. European Journal of Philosophy and Public Debate 2 (4):349-362.
Criminalizing Behaviour to Protect Human Dignity.Tatjana Hörnle - 2012 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 6 (3):307-325.
Human Dignity as a Right.Shaoping Gan - 2009 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):370-384.

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-03-25

Downloads
1,388 (#4,227)

6 months
70 (#11,588)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Amanda Jane Caroline Sharkey
University of Sheffield