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Clinton Castro
Florida International University
  1. Is the Attention Economy Noxious?Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (17):1-13.
    A growing amount of media is paid for by its consumers through their very consumption of it. Typically, this new media is web-based and paid for by advertising. It includes the services offered by Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. We offer an ethical assessment of the attention economy, the market where attention is exchanged for new media. We argue that the assessment has ethical implications for how the attention economy should be regulated. To conduct the assessment, we employ two heuristics (...)
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  2. Epistemic Paternalism Online.Clinton Castro, Adam Pham & Alan Rubel - 2020 - In Guy Axtell & Amiel Bernal (eds.), Epistemic Paternalism. London: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 29-44.
    New media (highly interactive digital technology for creating, sharing, and consuming information) affords users a great deal of control over their informational diets. As a result, many users of new media unwittingly encapsulate themselves in epistemic bubbles (epistemic structures, such as highly personalized news feeds, that leave relevant sources of information out (Nguyen forthcoming)). Epistemically paternalistic alterations to new media technologies could be made to pop at least some epistemic bubbles. We examine one such alteration that Facebook has made in (...)
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  3. The Imprecise Impermissivist’s Dilemma.Clinton Castro & Casey Hart - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1623-1640.
    Impermissivists hold that an agent with a given body of evidence has at most one rationally permitted attitude that she should adopt towards any particular proposition. Permissivists deny this, often motivating permissivism by describing scenarios that pump our intuitions that the agent could reasonably take one of several attitudes toward some proposition. We criticize the following impermissivist response: while it seems like any of that range of attitudes is permissible, what is actually required is the single broad attitude that encompasses (...)
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  4. Agency Laundering and Information Technologies.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):1017-1041.
    When agents insert technological systems into their decision-making processes, they can obscure moral responsibility for the results. This can give rise to a distinct moral wrong, which we call “agency laundering.” At root, agency laundering involves obfuscating one’s moral responsibility by enlisting a technology or process to take some action and letting it forestall others from demanding an account for bad outcomes that result. We argue that the concept of agency laundering helps in understanding important moral problems in a number (...)
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  5. The Moral Limits of the Market: The Case of Consumer Scoring Data.Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2019 - Ethics and Information Technology 21 (2):117-126.
    We offer an ethical assessment of the market for data used to generate what are sometimes called “consumer scores” (i.e., numerical expressions that are used to describe or predict people’s dispositions and behavior), and we argue that the assessment has ethical implications on how the market for consumer scoring data should be regulated. To conduct the assessment, we employ two heuristics for evaluating markets. One is the “harm” criterion, which relates to whether the market produces serious harms, either for participants (...)
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  6. What's Wrong with Machine Bias.Clinton Castro - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    Data-driven, decision-making technologies used in the justice system to inform decisions about bail, parole, and prison sentencing are biased against historically marginalized groups (Angwin, Larson, Mattu, & Kirchner 2016). But these technologies’ judgments—which reproduce patterns of wrongful discrimination embedded in the historical datasets that they are trained on—are well-evidenced. This presents a puzzle: how can we account for the wrong these judgments engender without also indicting morally permissible statistical inferences about persons? I motivate this puzzle and attempt an answer.
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  7. Is There a Duty to Be a Digital Minimalist?Timothy Aylsworth & Clinton Castro - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    The harms associated with wireless mobile devices (e.g. smartphones) are well documented. They have been linked to anxiety, depression, diminished attention span, sleep disturbance, and decreased relationship satisfaction. Perhaps what is most worrying from a moral perspective, however, is the effect these devices can have on our autonomy. In this article, we argue that there is an obligation to foster and safeguard autonomy in ourselves, and we suggest that wireless mobile devices pose a serious threat to our capacity to fulfill (...)
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  8. Ideal Counterpart Theorizing and the Accuracy Argument for Probabilism.Clinton Castro & Olav Vassend - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):207-216.
    One of the main goals of Bayesian epistemology is to justify the rational norms credence functions ought to obey. Accuracy arguments attempt to justify these norms from the assumption that the source of value for credences relevant to their epistemic status is their accuracy. This assumption and some standard decision-theoretic principles are used to argue for norms like Probabilism, the thesis that an agent’s credence function is rational only if it obeys the probability axioms. We introduce an example that shows (...)
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  9. Algorithms, Agency, and Respect for Persons.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2020 - Social Theory and Practice 46 (3):547-572.
    Algorithmic systems and predictive analytics play an increasingly important role in various aspects of modern life. Scholarship on the moral ramifications of such systems is in its early stages, and much of it focuses on bias and harm. This paper argues that in understanding the moral salience of algorithmic systems it is essential to understand the relation between algorithms, autonomy, and agency. We draw on several recent cases in criminal sentencing and K–12 teacher evaluation to outline four key ways in (...)
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  10.  5
    Algorithms and Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
    Algorithms influence every facet of modern life: criminal justice, education, housing, entertainment, elections, social media, news feeds, work… the list goes on. Delegating important decisions to machines, however, gives rise to deep moral concerns about responsibility, transparency, freedom, fairness, and democracy. Algorithms and Autonomy connects these concerns to the core human value of autonomy in the contexts of algorithmic teacher evaluation, risk assessment in criminal sentencing, predictive policing, background checks, news feeds, ride-sharing platforms, social media, and election interference. Using these (...)
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  11.  71
    Agency Laundering and Algorithmic Decision Systems.Alan Rubel, Adam Pham & Clinton Castro - 2019 - In N. Taylor, C. Christian-Lamb, M. Martin & B. Nardi (eds.), Information in Contemporary Society (Lecture Notes in Computer Science) (Proceedings of the 2019 iConference). Springer Nature. pp. 590-598.
    This paper has two aims. The first is to explain a type of wrong that arises when agents obscure responsibility for their actions. Call it “agency laundering.” The second is to use the concept of agency laundering to understand the underlying moral issues in a number of recent cases involving algorithmic decision systems. From the Proceedings of the 14th International Conference, iConference 2019, Washington D.C., March 31-April 3, 2019.
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  12. Bias in Information, Algorithms, and Systems.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2018 - In Jo Bates, Paul D. Clough, Robert Jäschke & Jahna Otterbacher (eds.), Proceedings of the International Workshop on Bias in Information, Algorithms, and Systems (BIAS). pp. 9-13.
    We argue that an essential element of understanding the moral salience of algorithmic systems requires an analysis of the relation between algorithms and agency. We outline six key ways in which issues of agency, autonomy, and respect for persons can conflict with algorithmic decision-making.
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  13. Democratic Obligations and Technological Threats to Legitimacy: PredPol, Cambridge Analytica, and Internet Research Agency.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2021 - In Algorithms & Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge University Press. pp. 163-183.
    ABSTRACT: So far in this book, we have examined algorithmic decision systems from three autonomy-based perspectives: in terms of what we owe autonomous agents (chapters 3 and 4), in terms of the conditions required for people to act autonomously (chapters 5 and 6), and in terms of the responsibilities of agents (chapter 7). -/- In this chapter we turn to the ways in which autonomy underwrites democratic governance. Political authority, which is to say the ability of a government to exercise (...)
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  14. What We Informationally Owe Each Other.Alan Rubel, Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - forthcoming - In Algorithms & Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge University Press. pp. 21-42.
    ABSTRACT: One important criticism of algorithmic systems is that they lack transparency. Such systems can be opaque because they are complex, protected by patent or trade secret, or deliberately obscure. In the EU, there is a debate about whether the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) contains a “right to explanation,” and if so what such a right entails. Our task in this chapter is to address this informational component of algorithmic systems. We argue that information access is integral for respecting (...)
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  15. What Should We Agree on About the Repugnant Conclusion?Stéphane Zuber, Nikhil Venkatesh, Torbjörn Tännsjö, Christian Tarsney, H. Orri Stefánsson, Katie Steele, Dean Spears, Jeff Sebo, Marcus Pivato, Toby Ord, Yew-Kwang Ng, Michal Masny, William MacAskill, Nicholas Lawson, Kevin Kuruc, Michelle Hutchinson, Johan E. Gustafsson, Hilary Greaves, Lisa Forsberg, Marc Fleurbaey, Diane Coffey, Susumu Cato, Clinton Castro, Tim Campbell, Mark Budolfson, John Broome, Alexander Berger, Nick Beckstead & Geir B. Asheim - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-5.
    The Repugnant Conclusion served an important purpose in catalyzing and inspiring the pioneering stage of population ethics research. We believe, however, that the Repugnant Conclusion now receives too much focus. Avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion should no longer be the central goal driving population ethics research, despite its importance to the fundamental accomplishments of the existing literature.
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