Purpose The purpose of this paper is clearly illustrate this convergence and the prescriptive recommendations that such documents entail. There is a significant amount of research into the ethical consequences of artificial intelligence. This is reflected by many outputs across academia, policy and the media. Many of these outputs aim to provide guidance to particular stakeholder groups. It has recently been shown that there is a large degree of convergence in terms of the principles upon which these guidance documents are (...) based. Despite this convergence, it is not always clear how these principles are to be translated into practice. Design/methodology/approach In this paper, the authors move beyond the high-level ethical principles that are common across the AI ethics guidance literature and provide a description of the normative content that is covered by these principles. The outcome is a comprehensive compilation of normative requirements arising from existing guidance documents. This is not only required for a deeper theoretical understanding of AI ethics discussions but also for the creation of practical and implementable guidance for developers and users of AI. Findings In this paper, the authors therefore provide a detailed explanation of the normative implications of existing AI ethics guidelines but directed towards developers and organisational users of AI. The authors believe that the paper provides the most comprehensive account of ethical requirements in AI currently available, which is of interest not only to the research and policy communities engaged in the topic but also to the user communities that require guidance when developing or deploying AI systems. Originality/value The authors believe that they have managed to compile the most comprehensive document collecting existing guidance which can guide practical action but will hopefully also support the consolidation of the guidelines landscape. The authors’ findings should also be of academic interest and inspire philosophical research on the consistency and justification of the various normative statements that can be found in the literature. (shrink)
In modern technical societies computers interact with human beings in ways that can affect moral rights and obligations. This has given rise to the question whether computers can act as autonomous moral agents. The answer to this question depends on many explicit and implicit definitions that touch on different philosophical areas such as anthropology and metaphysics. The approach chosen in this paper centres on the concept of information. Information is a multi-facetted notion which is hard to define comprehensively. However, the (...) frequently used definition of information as data endowed with meaning can promote our understanding. It is argued that information in this sense is a necessary condition of cognitivist ethics. This is the basis for analysing computers and information processors regarding their status as possible moral agents. Computers have several characteristics that are desirable for moral agents. However, computers in their current form are unable to capture the meaning of information and therefore fail to reflect morality in anything but a most basic sense of the term. This shortcoming is discussed using the example of the Moral Turing Test. The paper ends with a consideration of which conditions computers would have to fulfil in order to be able to use information in such a way as to render them capable of acting morally and reflecting ethically. (shrink)
In this introduction we discuss the motivation behind the workshop “Towards a New Epistemology of Mathematics” of which this special issue constitutes the proceedings. We elaborate on historical and empirical aspects of the desired new epistemology, connect it to the public image of mathematics, and give a summary and an introduction to the contributions to this issue.
Modern biology is ambivalent about the notion of evolutionary progress. Although most evolutionists imply in their writings that they still understand large-scale macroevolution as a somewhat progressive process, the use of the term “progress” is increasingly criticized and avoided. The paper shows that this ambivalence has a long history and results mainly from three problems: (1) The term “progress” carries historical, theoretical and social implications which are not congruent with modern knowledge of the course of evolution; (2) An incongruence exists (...) between the notion of progress and Darwin’s theory of selection; (3) It is still not possible to give more than a rudimentary definition of the general patterns that were generated during the macroevolution of organisms. The paper consists of two parts: the first is a historical overview of the roots of the term “progress” in evolutionary biology, the second discusses epistemological, ontological and empirical problems. It is stated that the term has so far served as a metaphor for general patterns generated amongst organisms during evolution. It is proposed that a reformulation is needed to eliminate historically imported implications and that it is necessary to develop a concept for an appropriate empirical description of macroevolutionary patterns. This is the third way between, on the one hand, using the term indiscriminately and, on the other hand, ignoring the general patterns that evolution has produced. (shrink)
How can we best identify, understand, and deal with ethical and societal issues raised by healthcare robotics? This paper argues that next to ethical analysis, classic technology assessment, and philosophical speculation we need forms of reflection, dialogue, and experiment that come, quite literally, much closer to innovation practices and contexts of use. The authors discuss a number of ways how to achieve that. Informed by their experience with “embedded” ethics in technical projects and with various tools and methods of responsible (...) research and innovation, the paper identifies “internal” and “external” forms of dialogical research and innovation, reflections on the possibilities and limitations of these forms of ethical–technological innovation, and explores a number of ways how they can be supported by policy at national and supranational level. (shrink)
Angesichts einer zunehmenden Polarisierung moderner Gesellschaften in Arm und Reich gewinnt das Thema Eigentum wieder an Aktualität und Brisanz. Für die erneut aufbrechende Diskussion ist diese kompetente Überblicksdarstellung der wichtigsten Eigentumstheorien von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart hilfreich und willkommen. Sie zeigt, daß die Frage des Eigentums in der Philosophie vornehmlich unter ethischen und moralischen Gesichtspunkten behandelt wird. So liefert sie wertvolle Denkanstöße und läßt vieles, was heute in puncto Eigentum als selbstverständlich gilt, in neuem Licht erscheinen.
The discourse concerning computer ethics qualifies as a reference discourse for ethics-related IS research. Theories, topics and approaches of computer ethics are reflected in IS. The paper argues that there is currently a broader development in the area of research governance, which is referred to as 'responsible research and innovation'. RRI applied to information and communication technology addresses some of the limitations of computer ethics and points toward a broader approach to the governance of science, technology and innovation. Taking this (...) development into account will help IS increase its relevance and make optimal use of its established strengths. 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
There has been much debate whether computers can be responsible. This question is usually discussed in terms of personhood and personal characteristics, which a computer may or may not possess. If a computer fulfils the conditions required for agency or personhood, then it can be responsible; otherwise not. This paper suggests a different approach. An analysis of the concept of responsibility shows that it is a social construct of ascription which is only viable in certain social contexts and which serves (...) particular social aims. If this is the main aspect of responsibility then the question whether computers can be responsible no longer hinges on the difficult problem of agency but on the possibly simpler question whether responsibility ascriptions to computers can fulfil social goals. The suggested solution to the question whether computers can be subjects of responsibility is the introduction of a new concept, called “quasi-responsibility” which will emphasise the social aim of responsibility ascription and which can be applied to computers. (shrink)
Presents a study devoted to the discussion and relevance of the notion of 'the environment' and 'ecology' within the frame-work and 'ontology' of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. This title analyzes their non-dualist and materialist re-thinking of these issues from various positions within Cultural Studies and Sciences.
The two main challenges of the theory of conceptual content presented by Robert Brandom in Making It Explicit are to account for a referential dimension of conceptual content and to account for the objectivity of conceptual norms. Brandom tries to meet both these challenges in chapter 8 of his book. I argue that the accounts presented there can only be understood if seen against the background of Brandom's theory of communication developed in chapter 7. This theory is motivated by the (...) well-known problem that semantic holism threatens the possibility of communication because it has the consequence that words mean different things in different mouths. Brandom offers a solution to this problem in terms of what he calls recurrence commitments. I show that chapter 8 of Making It Explicit should be understood as arguing that a practice that includes acknowledging interpersonal recurrence commitments institutes both conceptual contents with a referential dimension and objective conceptual norms. I close by raising the objection that Brandom's argument can only show that conceptual norms are communally shared and not that they are objective. I propose an emendation of this argument, having recourse to a practice Brandom refers to as rational rectification in his new book Between Saying and Doing. (shrink)
The term “synthetic biology” is a popular label of an emerging biotechnological field with strong claims to robustness, modularity, and controlled construction, finally enabling the creation of new organisms. Although the research community is heterogeneous, it advocates a common denominator that seems to define this field: the principles of rational engineering. However, it still remains unclear to what extent rational engineering—rather than “tinkering” or the usage of random based or non-rational processes—actually constitutes the basis for the techniques of synthetic biology. (...) In this article, we present the results of a quantitative bibliometric analysis of the realized extent of rational engineering in synthetic biology. In our analysis, we examine three issues: (1) We evaluate whether work at three levels of synthetic biology (parts, devices, and systems) is consistent with the principles of rational engineering. (2) We estimate the extent of rational engineering in synthetic biology laboratory practice by an evaluation of publications in synthetic biology. (3) We examine the methodological specialization in rational engineering of authors in synthetic biology. Our analysis demonstrates that rational engineering is prevalent in about half of the articles related to synthetic biology. Interestingly, in recent years the relative number of respective publications has decreased. Despite its prominent role among the claims of synthetic biology, rational engineering has not yet entirely replaced biotechnological methods based on “tinkering” and non-rational principles. (shrink)
Information security can be of high moral value. It can equally be used for immoral purposes and have undesirable consequences. In this paper we suggest that critical theory can facilitate a better understanding of possible ethical issues and can provide support when finding ways of addressing them. The paper argues that critical theory has intrinsic links to ethics and that it is possible to identify concepts frequently used in critical theory to pinpoint ethical concerns. Using the example of UK electronic (...) medical records the paper demonstrates that a critical lens can highlight issues that traditional ethical theories tend to overlook. These are often linked to collective issues such as social and organisational structures, which philosophical ethics with its typical focus on the individual does not tend to emphasise. The paper suggests that this insight can help in developing ways of researching and innovating responsibly in the area of information security. (shrink)
Attempts to explain the origin of macroevolutionary innovations have been only partially successful. Here it is proposed that the patterns of major evolutionary transitions have to be understood first, before it is possible to further analyse the forces behind the process. The hypothesis is that major evolutionary innovations are characterized by an increase in organismal autonomy, in the sense of emancipation from the environment. After a brief overview of the literature on this subject, increasing autonomy is defined as the evolutionary (...) shift in the individual system–environment relationship, such that the direct influences of the environment are gradually reduced and a stabilization of self-referential, intrinsic functions within the system is generated. This is described as relative autonomy because numerous interconnections with the environment and dependencies upon it are retained. Features of increasing autonomy are spatial separations, an increase in homeostatic functions and in body size, internalizations and an increase in physiological and behavioral flexibility. It is described how these features are present in different combinations in the major evolutionary transitions of metazoans and, consequently, how they should be taken into consideration when evolutionary innovations are studied. The hypothesis contributes to a reconsideration of the relationship between organisms and their environment. (shrink)
Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, and people’s ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons, policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is sensitive to ethical (...) issues pertain to being proactive in addressing such issues at an early stage of the technology life cycle. The present paper uses this position as a starting point and discusses how knowledge of ethical aspects of emerging ICTs can be gained. It develops a methodology that goes beyond established futures methodologies to cater for the difficult nature of ethical issues. The authors outline how the description of emerging ICTs can be used for an ethical analysis. (shrink)
Trustful interaction serves the interests of those involved. Thus, one could reason that trust itself may be analyzed as part of rational, goaloriented action. In contrast, common sense tells us that trust is an emotion and is, therefore, independent of rational deliberation to some extent. I will argue that we are right in trusting our common sense. My argument is conceptual in nature, referring to the common distinction between trust and pure reliance. An emotional attitude may be understood as some (...) general pattern in the way the world or some part of the world is perceived by an individual. Trust may be characterized by such a pattern. I shall focus on two central features of a trusting attitude. First, trust involves a participant attitude (Strawson) toward the person being trusted. Second, a situation of trust is perceived by a trusting person as one in which shared values or norms motivate both his own actions as well as those of the person being trusted. As an emotional attitude, trust is, to some extent, independent of objective information. It determines what a trusting person will believe and how various outcomes are evaluated. Hence, trust is quite different from rational belief and the problem with trust is not adequately met in minimizing risk by supplying extensive information or some mechanism of sanctioning. Trust is an attitude that enables us to cope with risk in a certain way. If we want to promote trustful interaction, we must form our institutions in ways that allow individuals to experience their interest and values as shared and, thus, to develop a trusting attitude. (shrink)
How does Christian ethics begin? This pioneering study explores the grammar of the Christian life as it is embodied and learned in worship as the formative experience of Christian communities. In a careful analysis of biblical and traditional conceptions of worship, Wannenwetsch demonstrates how worship challenges the deepest antagonisms in political thought and social practice. Particular worship practices are examined and their ethical and political significance is explored.
An important question one can ask of ethical theories is whether and how they aim to raise claims to universality. This refers to the subject area that they intend to describe or govern and also to the question whether they claim to be binding for all (moral) agents. This paper discusses the question of universality of Luciano Floridi’s information ethics (IE). This is done by introducing the theory and discussing its conceptual foundations and applications. The emphasis will be placed on (...) the ontological grounding of IE. IE’s claims to universality will be contrasted with those raised by discourse ethics. This comparison of two pertinent ethical theories allows for a critical discussion of areas where IE currently has room for elaboration and development. (shrink)
Sociological, economic and evolutionary paradigms of human agency have often seen social agents either as the rational controllers of their fate or as marionettes on the strings of historical, functional or adaptive necessity. They found it therefore difficult to account for the variability, intentionality and creativity of human behaviour and for its frequently redundant or harmful results. This paper argues that human agency is a product of evolution, but that genetic variation and inheritance can only provide a limited explanation of (...) its complex nature. The primary evolutionary problem which human agents face while they are alive is not to adapt to stable environments, but to respond flexibly and creatively to a contingent, uncertain world. Variation and selection therefore take two connected but distinct forms, one external, genetic, and inherited across generations, the other internal and cognitive, and operating during the lifetime of individuals. An examination of this lived part of evolution provides a better understanding of key properties of agency. (shrink)
Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, their ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is sensitive to ethical issues (...) would be to be proactive and address such issues at early stages of the technology life cycle. The present paper uses this position as a starting point and discusses how knowledge of ethical aspects of emerging ICTs can be gained. It develops a methodology that goes beyond established futures methodologies to cater for the difficult nature of ethical issues. The paper goes on to outline some of the preliminary findings of a European research project that has applied this method. (shrink)
In this paper some parts of the model theory for logics based on generalised Kripke semantics are developed. Löwenheim-Skolem theorems and some applications of ultraproduct constructions for generalised Kripke models with variable universe are investigated using similar theorems of the model theory for classical logic. The results are generalizations of the theorems of .
This paper seeks to contextualize Lycurgus' use of the historical example of King Codrus' self-sacrifice within Athenian social memory and public discourse. In doing so, it offers a solution to the puzzle of Lycurgus' calling Codrus one of the ἐπώνυμοι τῆς χώρας . I make the case that Codrus was one of the forty-two eponymous age-set heroes who played an important role in the Athenian military and socio-political system. I contend that devotion to the city's gods and heroes and knowledge (...) of their mythology were essential parts of the religious and ideological instruction of Athenian ephebes. Consequently, Lycurgus' citation of the Ephebic Oath, the self-sacrifices of King Codrus and the daughters of Erechtheus, as well as his repeated invocation of the city's gods and shrines, must be seen as integral elements of his indictment of Leocrates for cowardice and treason, behavior that is diametrically opposed to the hoplite ethos and religious devotion that were instilled into young ephebes. Lycurgus thus brings the jurors' memories of their own ephebate into the courtroom and taps into emotions and values that lie at the heart of Athenian collective identity. (shrink)
Kants Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Rechtslehre galten seit ihrem Erscheinen 1797 als mehr oder weniger verunglücktes Alterswerk. Bernd Ludwigs Untersuchung beansprucht dagegen, in ihrem ersten Teil den Nachweis zu führen, daß der problematische Zustand der Schrift nicht etwa den nachlassen den Geisteskräften des Autors zuzuschreiben ist, sondern sich vielmehr einer verunglücken Drucklegung verdankt: Zum Druck gelangte ein Manuskript, in dem nicht nur einzelne Textpassagen falsch angeordnet waren, sondern das auch Vorarbeiten enthielt, die für den Druck gar nicht vorgesehen waren. Anhand (...) von philologischen Indikatoren läßt sich eine Version rekonstruieren, die der von Kant intendierten Textgestalt weitgehend entspricht, ihr zumindest aber wesentlich näher kommt als der Druck von 1797. -/- Im zweiten Teil wird in Gestalt eines analytischen Kommentars feingliedrig die Kantische Argumentation rekonstruiert und auf diesem Wege aufgezeigt, daß das wiederhergestellte Werk tatsächlich die über dreißig Jahre währende Arbeit Kants an seiner Rechtsphilosophie erfolgreich zum Abschluß gebracht hat. Spuren nachlassender Geisteskräfte sind dabei nicht auszumachen. Vielmehr erweist sich Kant als Autor, der traditionelle Lehrstücke des Naturrechts souverän an seine kritische Grundlegung der praktischen Philosophie anschließt. (shrink)
Critical research is becoming increasingly accepted as a valid approach to research in information systems. It is deemed to be particularly suitable for situations where researchers want to address conspicuous injustice, such as in areas of development or the digital divide. Critical research in information systems (CRIS), I will argue, is a possible approach to some of the ethical problems arising in the context of information and communication technology (ICT). It can be sensitive to the question of culture and therefore (...) suitable for researching cross-cultural ethical questions in ICT. It is often unclear, however, what exactly critical research stands for and to what extent critical approaches are applicable across cultural boundaries. This paper will address these problems by proposing a definition of critical research as focused on changing the status quo and aiming for emancipation. It will then look at the question whether different cultures are compatible and comparable and what the role of culture in research on information systems is. The paper will then return to the question whether the critical intention to emancipate and empower humans is an expression of cultural imperialism or whether there are valid ways of promoting emancipation across cultural divides. (shrink)
ZusammenfassungKlinische Therapieentscheidungen werden zumeist auf dem Boden einer medizinischen Indikationsstellung und der entsprechenden informierten Zustimmung des Patienten zu der vorgeschlagenen Behandlungsmaßnahme gefällt. Das Recht des Patienten, eine Behandlungsmaßnahme abzulehnen, ist in der juristischen und ethischen Bewertung breit abgesichert. Hingegen ist unklar, welche Rolle ein Wunsch des Patienten oder gar seiner Angehörigen nach einer bestimmten Behandlung im normativen Entscheidungsprozess spielen sollte, wenn überhaupt. Dieser Beitrag erörtert den Stellenwert des eigenständigen Patientenwunsches aus studienbezogener, klinischer und normativer Sicht. Ein authentisches Fallbeispiel verdeutlicht das (...) Spektrum zugrunde liegender Autonomiekonzepte und das Dilemma divergierender Bewertungsmaßstäbe zwischen Arzt und Patient in der Tumortherapie und Palliativmedizin. Der Beitrag zeigt auf, wie bestehende Konzepte von Autonomie und Indikation genutzt werden können, um einerseits den Behandlungswunsch eines Patienten konkret in den Entscheidungsprozess einzubeziehen, andererseits eine klare Abgrenzung zu einer unreflektierten „wunscherfüllenden Medizin“ aufrecht zu erhalten. (shrink)
This paper explores what insights can be drawn from critical theory to enrich and strengthen Sen’s capability approach in relation to technology and human development. The two theories share some important commonalities: both are concerned with the pursuit of “a good life”; both are normative theories rooted in ethics and meant to make a difference, and both are interested in democracy. The paper provides a brief overview of both schools of thought and their applications to technology and human development. Three (...) areas are identified where critical theory can make a contribution to the capability approach: conceptually, by providing a critical account of individual agency and enriching the concept of technology beyond the simplistic notion of commodities; methodologically, by sensitising towards reification and hegemony of scientific tools, and, finally, by emphasising reflexivity of researchers. (shrink)
The Gilgamesh Epic tells of a distraught young king who traveled to the end of the world in search of the wisdom needed to accept human mortality and the courage to lead a compassionate and fruitful life. He finds this wisdom in the Story of the Flood. The myth is built around a mysterious word of guidance and compassion that the god of wisdom whispers in the ear of his faithful human servant. This word not only saves the servant's life (...) but inaugurates an unending conversation between heaven and earth that opens a truly human world to him. This creative and salvific word saves King Gilgamesh's life and engenders the constructive governing of his city. (shrink)
The majority rule has caught much attention in recent debate about the aggregation of judgments. But its role in finding the truth is limited. A majority of expert judgments is not necessarily authoritative, even if all experts are equally competent, if they make their judgments independently of each other, and if all the judgments are based on the same source of (good) evidence. In this paper I demonstrate this limitation by presenting a simple counterexample and a related general result. I (...) pave the way for this argument by introducing a Bayesian model of evidence and expert judgment in order to give a precise account of the basic problem. (shrink)
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