The question of whether AI systems such as robots can or should be afforded moral agency or patiency is not one amenable either to discovery or simple reasoning, because we as societies constantly reconstruct our artefacts, including our ethical systems. Consequently, the place of AI systems in society is a matter of normative, not descriptive ethics. Here I start from a functionalist assumption, that ethics is the set of behaviour that maintains a society. This assumption allows me to exploit the (...) theoretical biology of sociality and autonomy to explain our moral intuitions. From this grounding I extend to consider possible ethics for maintaining either human- or of artefact-centred societies. I conclude that while constructing AI systems as either moral agents or patients is possible, neither is desirable. In particular, I argue that we are unlikely to construct a coherent ethics in which it it is ethical to afford AI moral subjectivity. We are therefore obliged not to build AI we are obliged to. (shrink)
Conferring legal personhood on purely synthetic entities is a very real legal possibility, one under consideration presently by the European Union. We show here that such legislative action would be morally unnecessary and legally troublesome. While AI legal personhood may have some emotional or economic appeal, so do many superficially desirable hazards against which the law protects us. We review the utility and history of legal fictions of personhood, discussing salient precedents where such fictions resulted in abuse or incoherence. We (...) conclude that difficulties in holding “electronic persons” accountable when they violate the rights of others outweigh the highly precarious moral interests that AI legal personhood might protect. (shrink)
Background:Data representing people’s behaviour, attitudes, feelings and relationships are increasingly being harvested from social media platforms and re-used for research purposes. This can be ethically problematic, even where such data exist in the public domain. We set out to explore how the academic community is addressing these challenges by analysing a national corpus of research ethics guidelines and published studies in one interdisciplinary research area.Methods:Ethics guidelines published by Research Councils UK, its seven-member councils and guidelines cited within these were reviewed. (...) Guidelines referring to social media were classified according to published typologies of social media research uses and ethical considerations for social media mining. Using health research as an exemplar, PubMed was searched to identify studies using social media data, which were assessed according to their coverage of ethical considerations and guidelines.Results:Of the 13 guidelines published or recom... (shrink)
Unprecedented advances in medicine, genetic engineering, and demographic forecasting raise new questions that strain the categories and assumptions of traditional ethical theories. Heyd's approach resolves many paradoxes in intergenerational justice, while offering a major test case for the profound problems of the limits of ethics and the nature of value.
Each year thousands of individuals enrol in clinical trials as healthy volunteers to earn money. Some of them pursue research participation as a full-time or at least a part-time job. They call themselves professional or semiprofessional guinea pigs. The practice of paying healthy volunteers raises numerous ethical concerns. Different payment models have been discussed in literature. Dickert and Grady argue for a wage-payment model. This model gives research subjects a standardised hourly wage, and it is based on an assumption that (...) research participation is morally indistinguishable from other forms of unskilled labour. In this paper, I will challenge this assumption. I will argue that human guinea pigging has particular characteristics which taken together make it significantly different from other forms of labour. Participation in research is skill-independent. Healthy volunteers are valuable not because they are skilful persons, but because they are human bodies. The role of research volunteers is mainly passive. They are not asked to produce goods or deliver services. They are paid for enduring unpleasant, painful and risky interventions performed by investigators. Research volunteering involves inherent risks and uncertainties, and subjects have little or no control over their minimisation and materialisation. I conclude that participation in clinical research is a specific kind of activity. It is more like renting out one’s body to strangers, than working. Thus, research participation should not be treated on par with other forms of employment. (shrink)
How obliged can we be to AI, and how much danger does it pose us? A surprising proportion of our society holds exaggerated fears or hopes for AI, such as the fear of robot world conquest, or the hope that AI will indefinitely perpetuate our cul- ture. These misapprehensions are symptomatic of a larger problem—a confusion about the nature and origins of ethics and its role in society. While AI technologies do pose promises and threats, these are not qualitatively different (...) from those posed by other artifacts of our culture which are largely ignored: from factories to advertising, weapons to political systems. Ethical systems are based on notions of identity, and the exaggerated hopes and fears of AI derive from our cultures having not yet accommodated the fact that language and reasoning are no longer uniquely human. The experience of AI may improve our ethical intuitions and self-understanding, potentially helping our societies make better-informed decisions on serious ethical dilemmas. (shrink)
Heidegger and ethics is a contentious conjunction of terms. Martin Heidegger himself rejected the notion of ethics, while his endorsement of Nazism is widely seen as unethical. This major study examines the complex and controversial issues involved in bringing Heidegger and ethics together. Working backwards through his work, from his 1964 claim that philosophy has been completed to his first major book, Being and Time, Joanna Hodge questions Heidegger's denial that his inquiries were concerned with ethics. She discovers a (...) form of ethics in Heidegger's thinking which elucidates his important distinction between metaphysics and philosophy. Opposing many contemporary views, Hodge proposes that ethics can be retrieved and questions the relation between ethics and metaphysics that Heidegger made so pervasive. (shrink)
Perez-Rodriguez and de la Fuente (2017) assume that although human races do not exist in a biological sense (“geneticists and evolutionary biologists generally agree that the division of humans into races/subspecies has no defensible scientific basis,” they exist only as “sociocultural constructions” and because of that maintain an illusory reality, for example, through “racialized” practices in medicine. Agreeing with the main postulates formulated in the article, we believe that the authors treat this problem in a superficial manner and have failed (...) to capture the current state of the field of knowledge in science and the humanities. In our commentary, we want to highlight two main omissions, and to notice three important implications for “a postracial medicine.”. (shrink)
Rather than focus on effects, the isolatable and measureable outcomes of events and interventions, the papers assembled here offer different perspectives on the affective dimension of the meaning and politics of human/non-human relations. The authors begin by drawing attention to the constructed discontinuity between humans and non-humans, and to the kinds of knowledge and socialities that this discontinuity sustains, including those underpinned by nature-culture, subject-object, body-mind, individual-society polarities. The articles presented track human/non-human relations through different domains, including: humans/non-humans in history (...) and animal welfare science ; the relationship between the way we live, the effects on our natural environment and contested knowledges about ‘nature’ ; choreographies of everyday life and everyday science practices with non-human animals such as horses, meerkats, mice, and wolves. Each paper also goes on to offer different perspectives on the human/non-human not just as division, or even as an asymmetrical relation, but as relations that are mutually affective, however invisible and inexpressible in the domain of science. Thus the collection contributes to new epistemologies/ontologies that undercut the usual ordering of relations and their dichotomies, particularly in that dominant domain of contemporary culture that we call science. Indeed, in their impetus to capture ‘affect’, the collection goes beyond the usual turn towards a more inclusive ontology, and contributes to the radical shift in the epistemology and philosophy of science’s terms of engagement. (shrink)
A person who is liable to defensive harm has forfeited his rights against the imposition of the harm, and so is not wronged if that harm is imposed. A number of philosophers, most notably Jeff McMahan, argue for an instrumental account of liability, whereby a person is liable to defensive harm when he is either morally or culpably responsible for an unjust threat of harm to others, and when the imposition of defensive harm is necessary to avert the threatened unjust (...) harm. Others may favour a purely noninstrumental account of liability: one that looks only to the past behaviour of the potentially liable person. We argue that both views are vulnerable to serious objections. Instead we develop and defend a new view of liability to defensive harm: the pluralist account. The pluralist account states that liability to defensive harm has at least two bases. First, if an attacker is morally or culpably responsible for an unjust attack then he has forfeited what we call his agency right, and in doing so he has made himself partially liable to defensive harm. Whether the attacker is fully liable to defensive harm depends, however, on whether the imposition of defensive harm would infringe a different right held by the attacker: his humanitarian right. Humanitarian rights are rights to be provided with urgently needed resources or to be protected from serious harms when others can do so at reasonably low cost. We argue the pluralist account avoids the objections to which the instrumental and noninstrumental views are vulnerable, coheres with our intuitive reactions in a wide range of cases, and sheds new light on the way different rights combine to determine a person's liability to suffer harm. (shrink)
This study examines the conflation of terms such as “knowledge” and “understanding” in peer-reviewed literature, and tests the hypothesis that little current research clearly distinguishes between importantly distinct epistemic states. Two sets of data are presented from papers published in the journal Public Understanding of Science. In the first set, the digital text analysis tool, Voyant, is used to analyze all papers published in 2014 for the use of epistemic success terms. In the second set of data, all papers published (...) in Public Understanding of Science from 2010–2015 are systematically analyzed to identify instances in which epistemic states are empirically measured. The results indicate that epistemic success terms are inconsistently defined, and that measurement of understanding, in particular, is rarely achieved in public understanding of science studies. We suggest that more diligent attention to measuring understanding, as opposed to mere knowledge, will increase efficacy of scientific outreach and communication efforts. (shrink)
This paper draws on the philosophy of Karl Popper to present a descriptive evolutionary epistemology that offers philosophical solutions to the following related problems: ‘What happens when learning takes place?’ and ‘What happens in human learning?’ It provides a detailed analysis of how learning takes place without any direct transfer of information from the environment to the learner, and it significantly extends the author's earlier published work on this topic. She proposes that learning should be construed as a special case (...) of ‘problem solving’ and as a fundamentally critical and creative process in which learning organisms develop ‘expectations’ that are not purely an outcome of genetic inheritance or random mutation. Human learning is then characterised with reference to: objectified knowledge; descriptive and argumentative language; theoretical problems; the search for error and specific limitation. If the author's evolutionary analysis of learning is valid, it would suggest that we should, if we wish to promote learning, be wary of corralling children and older students in environments that inhibit autonomous activity, that discourage criticality and creativity and generally limit opportunities for trial and error‐elimination. But education institutions, particularly those for older children and adolescents, are very often environments of this constraining kind. Traditionally, educationists have vastly underestimated the human potential for imaginative criticism—because in general they have not recognised the extent to which it lies at the heart of what humans, including the youngest children, do in order to succeed at even the most basic tasks. (shrink)
A number of contemporary philosophers have suggested that the recent revival of interest in panpsychism within philosophy of mind could reinvigorate a pantheistic philosophy of religion. This project explores whether the combination and individuation problems, which have dominated recent scholarship within panpsychism, can aid the pantheist’s articulation of a God/universe unity. Constitutive holistic panpsychism is seen to be the only type of panpsychism suited to aid pantheism in articulating this type of unity. There are currently no well-developed solutions to the (...) individuation problem for this type of panpsychism. Moreover, the gestures towards a solution appear costly to the religious significance of pantheism. This article concludes that any hope that contemporary panpsychism might aid pantheists in articulating unity is premature and possibly misplaced. (shrink)
To forgive a person for a wrong he has done has often been valued as morally good and as indicative of a benevolent and merciful character. But while forgiveness has been recognized as valuable its nature as a moral response has largely been ignored by modern moral philosophers who work outside the confines of a religious context. 1 Where it has been discussed, forgiveness has been thought particularly difficult to define, and some have thought the forgiving response paradoxical or even (...) impossible. I shall discuss some of these difficulties and suggest firstly that the value of forgiveness lies in the fact that it essentially requires a recognition of the wrongdoer's responsibility for his action, and secondly that forgiveness typically involves an effort on the part of the one wronged: a conscious attempt to improve oneself in relation to the wrongdoer. (shrink)
The article investigates the relations between Hausdorff and non-Hausdorff manifolds as objects of general relativity. We show that every non-Hausdorff manifold can be seen as a result of gluing together some Hausdorff manifolds. In the light of this result, we investigate a modal interpretation of a non-Hausdorff differential manifold, according to which it represents a bundle of alternative space-times, all of which are compatible with a given initial data set.
The use of the category of race in science remains controversial. During the last few years there has been a lively debate on this topic in the field of a relatively young neuroscience discipline called cultural neuroscience. The main focus of cultural neuroscience is on biocultural conditions of the development of different dimensions of human perceptive activity, both cognitive or emotional. These dimensions are analysed through the comparison of representatives of different social and ethnic groups. In my article, I present (...) arguments supporting these two hypotheses: the other-race effect understood as an individual, distinct effect does not exist. It is rather an exemplification of a much broader phenomenon which I call theunfamiliarity homogeneity effect. It includes not only problems with differentiation and recognition of faces of representatives of other ethnic groups, but also covers similar recognitional difficulties ; The race-based terminology and categories are used in cultural neuroscience research in a vague and inconsistent manner. Such an approach distorts the science both in empirically and conceptually significant respects. The unfamiliarity homogeneity effect is an example of such a situation: narrowing it to the other-race effect makes it difficult to analyse in a wider context crucial for its understanding. (shrink)
This paper broadens out existing challenges to the divisions between the human and the animal that keep humans distinct, and apart, from other animals. Much attention to date has focused on how the Euro-American individuation of the human subject intensifies the asymmetries inculcated by these divisions. This paper rehearses some of this literature but goes on to attend to how these divisions undercut understandings of sociality and limit social organization to interaction between persons. Drawing together debates around the human/animal relation, (...) the paper juxtaposes different perspectives of nature-cultures to bring ‘worlds’ of relations into view. Specifically, I distinguish here between the state of ‘being alongside’ and the process of ‘being-with’. Ranging from approaches that try to settle ideas of difference through appeals to ‘ethical health’, through to work on identity that ‘unconceals’ a wealth of connection, this distinction will help to keep apart those situated moments of relations, where the constituent parts are left more provisional and contingent, from more sought-out relationships, where a sense of togetherness purposefully dominates the conjoining of activities. Contrasting hybridity as a totalizing form of ‘being-with’, with alongsideness, as a form of intermittent and partial connection, the analysis eschews the obfuscation of difference entrenched in contemporary emphasis on connectivity. Proposing instead the importance of creatures as ‘division preserving', the paper theorizes ways to sustain regard for division as well as connection as key to understanding the arts of dwelling amidst different kinds. (shrink)
This article discusses the idea of intra-generational education. Drawing on Braidotti’s nomadic subject and Barad’s conception of agency, we consider what intra-generational education might look like ontologically, in the light of critical posthumanism, in terms of natureculture world, nomadism and a vibrant indeterminacy of knowing subjects. In order to explore the idea of intra-generationalism and its pedagogical implications, we introduce four concepts: homelessness, agelessness, playfulness and wakefulness. These may appear improbable in the context of education policy-making today, but they are (...) born of theorising our practices in the age-transgressive field of Philosophy with Children. We argue that these concepts help to reconfigure intra-generational relations, ways of being and becoming. They express the longing, corporeality and visionary epistemology of nomadic enquiry. These inventions express a non-hierarchical philosophy of immanence. We draw some tentative conclusions about educational practices more generally. (shrink)
I address Sinnott-Armstrong's argument that evidence of framing effects in moral psychology shows that moral intuitions are unreliable and therefore not noninferentially justified. I begin by discussing what it is to be epistemically unreliable and clarify how framing effects render moral intuitions unreliable. This analysis calls for a modification of Sinnott-Armstrong's argument if it is to remain valid. In particular, he must claim that framing is sufficiently likely to determine the content of moral intuitions. I then re-examine the evidence which (...) is supposed to support this claim. In doing so, I provide a novel suggestion for how to analyze the reliability of intuitions in empirical studies. Analysis of the evidence suggests that moral intuitions subject to framing effects are in fact much more reliable than perhaps was thought, and that Sinnott-Armstrong has not succeeded in showing that noninferential justification has been defeated. (shrink)
How leaders and managers respond to not knowing is highly relevant given the complex, ambiguous, and chaotic business environment of the twenty-first century. Drawing on the literature from a variety of disciplines, the paper explores the dominant, unfavorable conceptualization of not knowing. The authors present some potential ethical implications of a negative view of not knowing and suggest how organizations would benefit from identifying any unhelpful aspects of the culture that may encourage unethical, undesirable, and/or hasty actions in situations of (...) not knowing. The paper specifically illustrates how patience, courage, honesty, integrity, and humility are integral to negative capability in the contexts of not knowing. Finally, the paper calls for deeper inquiry into the role of virtue ethics in preparing managers and leaders for not knowing and urges organizations to embrace negative capability in not knowing rather than engaging in damaging delusion. (shrink)
This article is an analysis and critique of emergent theologies, focusing on areas of Christology and pneumatology. An increasing number of Christian theologians are integrating emergence theory into their work. I argue that, despite the range of theological commitments and methodological approaches represented by these scholars, each faces similar problematic tendencies when their Christian doctrines are combined with emergence theory. It is concluded that the basic logic of emergence theory, whereby matter is seen to precede mind, makes it difficult for (...) emergent theologies to offer an account of salvation, avoid significant issues regarding God's involvement with evil, and maintain divine transcendence. It is concluded, therefore, that Christian theology should look elsewhere for a complementary metaphysical framework with which to bridge scientific and theological discourse. (shrink)
In this paper non-Hausdorff manifolds as potential basic objects of General Relativity are investigated. One can distinguish four stages of identifying an appropriate mathematical structure to describe physical systems: kinematic, dynamical, physical reasonability, and empirical. The thesis of this paper is that in the context of General Relativity, non-Hausdorff manifolds pass the first two stages, as they enable one to define the basic notions of differential geometry needed to pose the problem of the evolution-distribution of matter and are not in (...) conflict with the Einstein equations. With regard to the third stage, various potential conflicts with physical reasonability conditions are considered with a tentative conclusion that non-Hausdorff manifolds are more likely to pass this stage than is typically assumed. When dealing with some of these problems, the modal interpretation of non-Hausdorff manifolds is invoked, according to which they represent bundles of alternative possible spacetimes rather than single spacetimes. (shrink)
Haneke’s film Funny Games is a reflection on the nature of pain and representation. I argue that the film closely follows Elaine Scarry’s arguments about the structure of torture. Further, by refusing to appeal to categories of generalization such as ‘sadism’ and ‘psychopathy’, Haneke undermines the process of finding meaning in violence. Haneke positions his audiences as more than just witnesses to torture, but active participants in cruelty.
Reigning regulatory frameworks for biomedical research impose on researchers and research ethics committees an obligation to protect research participants from risks that are unnecessary, disproportionate to potential research benefits, and non-minimized. Where the research has no potential to produce results of direct benefit to the subjects and the subjects are unable to give consent, these requirements are strengthened by an additional condition, that risks should not exceed a certain minimal threshold. In this article, I address the question of whether there (...) should be limits of permissible risks in non-therapeutic research involving competent and healthy subjects. Some commentators argue that competent and informed individuals should have a right to participate even in extremely risky research and that research ethics committees should never reject studies because they are too dangerous. To use David Shaw's expression, competent volunteers should have ‘a right to participate in high-risk research’. I argue that this idea is ill-founded, as it does not take into account the social mission and complex collaborative nature of research practice as well as the inequity of power between researchers and subjects. Imposition of limits on permissible risks for healthy volunteers is justified by the need to protect research enterprise and the need to protect the weaker party, namely the subjects. Also, I suggest that the best way to set boundaries on research risks is to leave the judgment of risk acceptability to research ethics committees. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive investigation into the theme of time in the work of Jacques Derrida and shows how temporality is one of the hallmarks of his thought. Drawing on a wide array of Derrida's texts, Joanna Hodge: compares and contrasts Derrida's arguments concerning time with those Kant, Husserl, Augustine, Heidegger, Levinas, Freud, and Blanchot argues that Derrida's radical understanding of time as non-linear or irregular is essential to his aim of blurring the distinction between past and present, biography (...) and literature, philosophical and religious meditation, and the nature of the self explores the themes of death, touch and transcendence to argue that if considered under the theme of temporality there is more continuity to Derrida's thought than previously considered. (shrink)
Contemporary electronic music has splintered into numerous genres and subgenres, all of which share a concern with whether sound, in itself, bears meaning. Listening through the Noise considers how the experience of listening to electronic music constitutes a departure from the expectations that have long governed music listening in the West.
This article presents some synergies that appear to exist in the conceptualization of environmental and spiritual leadership. After some discussion of the contexts in which environmental and spiritual leadership have arisen, the author identifies some commonalities in the underpinning values and associated discourse adopted in the literature to describe these two concepts. Common values include notions of the common and social good, stewardship, sustainability, servanthood, calling, meaning, and connectedness. The article also draws attention to the way that historical and cultural (...) factors have contributed to some overlapping in the conceptual development of spirit and environment. Finally, avenues for demonstrating and embedding both spiritual and environmental leadership into organizations are explored. (shrink)