This article reviews the reasons scholars hold that driverless cars and many other AI equipped machines must be able to make ethical decisions, and the difficulties this approach faces. It then shows that cars have no moral agency, and that the term ‘autonomous’, commonly applied to these machines, is misleading, and leads to invalid conclusions about the ways these machines can be kept ethical. The article’s most important claim is that a significant part of the challenge posed by AI-equipped machines (...) can be addressed by the kind of ethical choices made by human beings for millennia. Ergo, there is little need to teach machines ethics even if this could be done in the first place. Finally, the article points out that it is a grievous error to draw on extreme outlier scenarios—such as the Trolley narratives—as a basis for conceptualizing the ethical issues at hand. (shrink)
From a sociological and anthropological viewpoint, the ability of complete strangers to carry out transactions that involve significant risk to one or both parties should be complicated by a lack of trust. Yet the rise of e-commerce and “sharing economy” platforms suggests that concerns that seemed prevalent only a few decades ago have been largely assuaged. What mechanisms have been used to facilitate trust between strangers online? Can we measure the extent to which users trust each other when interacting online? (...) This article reviews the existing literature on cyber trust and proposes directions for further research. (shrink)
The growing number of ‘smart’ instruments, those equipped with AI, has raised concerns because these instruments make autonomous decisions; that is, they act beyond the guidelines provided them by programmers. Hence, the question the makers and users of smart instrument face is how to ensure that these instruments will not engage in unethical conduct. The article suggests that to proceed we need a new kind of AI program—oversight programs—that will monitor, audit, and hold operational AI programs accountable.
The recent case between Apple and the FBI, in which Apple refused to comply with a court order to aid the FBI in overriding the security features of an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists, brought the tension between national security and individual rights to the forefront. This article looks at the case and these two core values from a liberal communitarian ethics perspective, and provides an analysis of how these values are reflected in U.S. law. It (...) concludes with an ethical discussion relevant to the resolution of differences between high-tech corporations and the government. (shrink)
As Artificial Intelligence technology seems poised for a major take-off and changing societal dynamics are creating a high demand for caregivers for elders, children and those infirmed-robotic caregivers, may well be used much more often. This article examines the ethical concerns raised by the use of AI caregivers and concludes that many of these concerns are avoided when AI caregivers operate as partners rather than substitutes. Furthermore, most of the remaining concerns are minor and are faced by human caregivers as (...) well. Nonetheless, because AI caregivers’ systems are learning systems, an AI caregiver could stray from its initial guidelines. Therefore, subjecting AI caregivers to an AI-based oversight system is proposed to ensure that their actions remain both legal and ethical. (shrink)
In recent decades, neoclassical economists have made heroic efforts to accommodate within the confines of the concept of rational utility maximization the fact that individual behavior is significantly affected by moral considerations. This article argues the merits of using an alternative approach: recognizing that individuals pursue at least two irreducible sources of value or “utility”, pleasure and morality. The possibility that some additional utilities may have to be recognized is explored. This raises the concern that conceptual anarchy will break out, (...) which in turn will force a search for a common denominator, and thus a return to one overarching utility. Arguments are presented to show that this concern is unfounded. The main focus of the article is a criticism of the monoutility conception and a brief for separating the sense of discharging one's moral obligations from all other satisfactions. The article first deals with general conceptual points, and then cites both everyday observations and empirical evidence in support of this position. (shrink)
: Recently, various suggestions have been made to respond to the increasingly great shortage of organs by paying for them. Because of the undesirable side effects of such approaches (commodification, injustice, and costs), a communitarian approach should be tried first. A communitarian approach to the problem of organ shortage entails changing the moral culture so that members of society will recognize that donating one's organs, once they are no longer of use to the donor, is the moral (right) thing to (...) do. This approach requires much greater and deeper efforts than sharing information and making public service announcements. It entails a moral dialogue, in which the public is engaged, leading to a change in what people expect from one another. Among the devices that could help to change the moral culture are a public statement, endorsed by community members and leaders, that expresses the community sense that donation "is what a good person does" and a community-specific web page that lists those who have made the commitment. A change in law so that a person's wishes in the matter are recognized as final and binding is also desired. This position paper deals only with cadaver organs and not living donors. (shrink)
This article adds to the discussion of the legitimation of stakeholding, by studying the implications of investing financial assets, years of labor, community resources, or other such scarce goods in a corporation. It attempts to respond to those who argue that it is not possible for all stakeholders to be effectively represented in corporate governance and that if they were, this would undermine the well-being of the corporation.
A communitarian approach to bioethics adds a core value to a field that is often more concerned with considerations of individual autonomy. Some interpretations of liberalism put the needs of the patient over those of the community; authoritarian communitarianism privileges the needs of society over those of the patient. Responsive communitarianism's main starting point is that we face two conflicting core values, autonomy and the common good, and that neither should be a priori privileged and that we have principles and (...) procedure that can be used to work out this conflict but not to eliminate it. Additionally, it favours changing behaviour mainly through the creation of norms and by drawing on informal social control rather than by coercion. (shrink)
There is a rnoral dimension in all business decisions. When planning a corporate' takeover, which substance to use for a product, whether to hire temps or full-time workers, or where to invest, all reflect values and tlence moral considerations. It is not enough to change people, we must change the structure. Within the corporate structure it is important to have special divisions dedicated to the implementation of ethics such as internal audit committees. The same might be said about business schools; (...) to enhance ethicality, we need both that all faculty become more committed to moral education and special departments dedicated to it. Also the neo-classsical, deontological paradigm needs to be combined with deontological, social paradigms. The challenge that one cannot teach ethics because it's unclear whose values we are going to teach, can be dealt with by teaching values we all share, and knowledge and respect for those that divide us. (shrink)
A communitarian approach to bioethics adds a core value to a field that is often more concerned with considerations of individual autonomy. Some interpretations of liberalism put the needs of the patient over those of the community; authoritarian communitarianism privileges the needs of society over those of the patient. Responsive communitarianism’s main starting point is that we face two conflicting core values, autonomy and the common good, and that neither should be a priori privileged, and that we have principles and (...) procedures that can be used to work out this conflict but not to eliminate it. This discussion uses the debate in the US over funding for entitlements as a case study to apply the values of communitarian bioethics. (shrink)
Given that holidays both reflect a society's attributes and serve to modify these attributes, they are a valuable tool for a macro-sociological analysis. This paper proceeds by examining Durkheim's well-known contributions on rituals and advancing theoretical ideas on how these might be modified, seeking to develop a theory of holidays. The article concerns the role of holidays in managing tensions and recommitment to values; their role in relating communities to the society at large; their effect on gender roles, and the (...) theoretical issues concerning holiday cycles and holiday-engineering efforts by religious authorities and states that have endeavored to adapt holidays for their own purpose. The article relies on public accounts, personal observations, and findings culled from a few studies by contemporary social scientists. (shrink)
Has moral relativism run its course? The threat of 9/11, terrorism, reproductive technology, and globalization has forced us to ask anew whether there are universal moral truths upon which to base ethical and political judgments. In this timely edited collection, distinguished scholars present and test the best answers to this question. These insightful responses temper the strong antithesis between universalism and relativism and retain sensitivity to how language and history shape the context of our moral decisions. This important and relevant (...) work of contemporary political and social thought is ideal for use in the classroom across many disciplines, including political science, philosophy, ethics, law, and theology. (shrink)
New communitarianism is important even to those who care little about academic disputes. A greatly altered communitarian position lays the foundation for an international legal framework that is more comprehensive than the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is more attentive to beliefs in the East, and enhances the ability of nations that adhere to different values to find common ground on policies ranging from humanitarian interventions to fighting terrorist groups. The article first examines criticisms leveled against communitarianism (...) and then highlights the ways a neo-communitarian approach has overcome these criticisms. The question of under what circumstances one nation may interfere in the internal affairs of another, especially to advance human rights, using means as different as cross cultural moral judgments to armed humanitarian interventions, serves as a litmus test for distinguishing the new from the old communitarian approach. (shrink)
A communitarian approach is applied to DNA testing and databases. It concerns itself both with individual rights and the common good. It finds that DNA testing, although it is highly intrusive, often advances both individual rights and the common good . However given its high level of intrusiveness and the insufficient level of oversight provided by existing checks and balances, the author argues for a national civil review board to provide still more accountability.
This article seeks to outline a viewpoint on the study of the legal, ethical and policy considerations raised by DNA tests and databases. It does not delve into the specifics involved. It outlines a way of thinking that has proven productive elsewhere1 and seems promising in dealing with DNA usages in the United States, but little more. Given that this essay is about a communitarian approach that draws on specific communitarian values, I turn next to briefly present the approach here (...) followed.Communitarianism is a social philosophy that maintains that society should articulate what is good, and asserts that such articulations are both necessary and legitimate. Communitarianism is often contrasted with classical liberalism, a philosophical position that holds that individuals should formulate their idea of good on their own. Communitarians examine the ways shared conceptions of the good are formed, transmitted, justified, and enforced. (shrink)
Given the rise in transnational problems and the inadequacy of the old, intergovernmental system, scholars are searching for a new, post-cold war global architecture. The 2001 anti-terrorism coalition presents a new architecture - the semi-empire - which is dominated by one nation (or a small group of nations) that pressures other nations to follow the course it sets, and has a limited number of missions. The article explores the possibility that the coalition could expand to tackle other transnational problems besides (...) terrorism. Given the coalition's lack of scope and legitimacy, other options are explored that might be more effective and legitimate. The alternatives turn out to be either based on the old system (e.g. transgovernmental agencies), unrealistic except in the very long term (a global nation), or implausible (e.g. a global constitutional assembly). The article argues that an expanded coalition, or semi-empire, might gradually become more effective and legitimate over time. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the development of communitarianism as a social philosophy and its application to public policy from the 1980s to the present. Communitarianism sees a good society as one that balances several conflicting normative principles, in particular autonomy and the common good. The balance needs to be adjusted as historical conditions change. This need to find a new balance is examined with special attention to the tension between national identities and the EU’s community-building as well as between globalists (...) and nationalists. It suggests that right-wing populism is at least partially attributable to a misunderstanding of communitarian values; that in order to reduce such populism, local communities must be nurtured rather than undermined or denounced. The chapter outlines a liberal communitarian position, that outlines ways globalist and parochial values can combine to achieve a better society. (shrink)
During his first year in office, President Barack Obama has outlined a human rights doctrine. The essence of Obama’s position is that the foreign policy of the USA is dedicated to the promotion of the most basic human right—the right to life—above and beyond all others and that the USA will systematically refrain from actively promoting other rights, even if this merely entails sanctions or raising a moral voice. This article details and examines Obama’s position and assesses its normative standing.
Designed as a textbook for courses in political theory, political sociology and comparative politics, and as a contribution in its own right, this book explores the role of elite relations as a key to understanding democracy. Following a critical review of the literature on classes, democracy and elites, the author argues that although Western democracy is not `governed by the people' and has not created equality, it is unique in that it has generated a relative separation of power holders, or (...) a relative autonomy of elites and sub-elites in the control of resources. Developing this argument the author discloses strengths and weaknesses in democracy's infrastructure. The Elite Connection contains a warning that a major danger to democracy stems from the tendency of elites to make incursions into the autonomy of other elites, and to develop excessively close dependency relations, either in subjugation of them, or in collusion with them, which result in threats to civil liberties and to the very foundations of democracy. It argues, however, that democracy has the built-in potential to counter its own subversions. Although it focuses on elites, the book has an egalitarian perspective: it concludes with the argument that the separation of elites makes possible struggles for greater equality. The still relatively independent elites of social movements have the potential of pushing democracy towards greater participation and equality. (shrink)