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Michael Klenk
Delft University of Technology
  1.  32
    How Do Technological Artefacts Embody Moral Values?Michael Klenk - forthcoming - Philosophy and Technology:1-20.
    According to some philosophers of technology, technology embodies moral values in virtue of its functional properties and the intentions of its designers. But this paper shows that such an account makes the values supposedly embedded in technology epistemically opaque and that it does not allow for values to change. Therefore, to overcome these shortcomings, the paper introduces the novel Affordance Account of Value Embedding as a superior alternative. Accordingly, artefacts bear affordances, that is, artefacts make certain actions likelier given the (...)
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  2.  62
    Ethics of Digital Contact Tracing and COVID-19: Who is (Not) Free to Go?Michael Klenk & Hein Duijf - forthcoming - Ethics and Information Technology.
    Digital tracing technologies are heralded as an effective way of containing SARS-CoV-2 faster than it is spreading, thereby allowing the possibility of easing draconic measures of population-wide quarantine. But existing technological proposals risk addressing the wrong problem. The proper objective is not solely to maximise the ratio of people freed from quarantine but to also ensure that the composition of the freed group is fair. We identify several factors that pose a risk for fair group composition along with an analysis (...)
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  3. Evolutionary Ethics.Michael Klenk - 2019 - Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics.
    This chapter first introduces naturalistic approaches to ethics more generally and distinguishes methodological ethical naturalism (the focus of this chapter), from metaphysical ethical naturalism. The second part then discusses evolutionary ethics as a specific variant of methodological ethical naturalism. After introducing the concepts of evolutionary theory that are relevant for evolutionary ethics, I will sketch the history of evolutionary ethics, which offers an interesting lesson about why it became a controversial topic, and then focus on four central questions about ethics (...)
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  4.  60
    Objectivist Conditions for Defeat and Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Michael Klenk - 2019 - Ratio 32 (4):246-259.
    I make a case for distinguishing clearly between subjective and objective accounts of undercutting defeat and for rejecting a hybrid view that takes both subjective and objective elements to be relevant for whether or not a belief is defeated. Moderate subjectivists claim that taking a belief to be defeated is sufficient for the belief to be defeated; subjectivist idealists add that if an idealised agent takes a belief to be defeated then the belief is defeated. Subjectivist idealism evades some of (...)
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  5. Old Wine in New Bottles: Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Benacerraf–Field Challenge.Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):781-795.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to show that robust moral realism, the metaethical view that there are non-natural and mind-independent moral properties and facts that we can know about, is incompatible with evolutionary explanations of morality. One of the most prominent evolutionary debunking arguments is advanced by Sharon Street, who argues that if moral realism were true, then objective moral knowledge is unlikely because realist moral properties are evolutionary irrelevant and moral beliefs about those properties would not be selected for. However, (...)
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  6.  45
    Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology.Michael Klenk (ed.) - 2020 - New York: Routledge.
    This book offers a systematic look at current challenges in moral epistemology through the lens of research on higher-order evidence. Fueled by recent advances in empirical research, higher-order evidence has generated a wealth of insights about the genealogy of moral beliefs. Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology explores how these insights have an impact on the epistemic status of moral beliefs. The essays are divided into four thematic sections. Part I addresses the normative significance of higher-order evidence for moral epistemology. Part (...)
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  7.  35
    Survival of Defeat - Evolution, Moral Objectivity, and Undercutting.Michael Klenk - 2018 - Dissertation, Utrecht University
  8.  57
    Third Factor Explanations and Disagreement in Metaethics.Michael Klenk - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):427-446.
    Several moral objectivists try to explain the reliability of moral beliefs by appealing to a third factor, a substantive moral claim that explains, first, why we have the moral beliefs that we have and, second, why these beliefs are true. Folke Tersman has recently suggested that moral disagreement constrains the epistemic legitimacy of third-factor explanations. Apart from constraining third-factor explanations, Tersman’s challenge could support the view that the epistemic significance of debunking explanations depends on the epistemic significance of disagreement. This (...)
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  9.  51
    Prometheus' Legacy: Responsibility and Technology.Michael Klenk & Martin Sand - 2020 - In Birgit Recki (ed.), Welche Technik? Dresden: Text & Dialog. pp. 23-40.
    A prominent view in contemporary philosophy of technology suggests that more technology implies more possibilities and, therefore, more responsibilities. Consequently, the question ‘What technology?’ is discussed primarily on the backdrop of assessing, assigning, and avoiding technology-borne culpability. The view is reminiscent of the Olympian gods’ vengeful and harsh reaction to Prometheus’ play with fire. However, the Olympian view leaves unexplained how technologies increase possibilities. Also, if Olympians are right, endorsing their view will at some point demand putting a halt to (...)
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  10. Can Moral Realists Deflect Defeat Due to Evolutionary Explanations of Morality?Michael Klenk - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):227-248.
    I address Andrew Moon's recent discussion (2016, this journal) of the question whether third-factor accounts are valid responses to debunking arguments against moral realism. Moon argues that third-factor responses are valid under certain conditions but leaves open whether moral realists can use his interpretation of the third-factor response to defuse the evolutionary debunking challenge. I rebut Moon's claim and answer his question. Moon's third-factor reply is valid only if we accept externalism about epistemic defeaters. However, even if we do, I (...)
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  11. Change in Moral View: Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - In Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. New York, NY: Routledge.
    Most epistemologists maintain that we are rationally required to believe what our evidence supports. Generally speaking, any factor that makes it more probable that a given state of affairs obtains (or does not obtain) is evidence (for that state of affairs). In line with this view, many metaethicists believe that we are rationally required to believe what’s morally right and wrong based on what our moral evidence (e.g. our moral intuitions, along with descriptive information about the world) supports. However, sometimes (...)
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  12. Moral Philosophy and the ‘Ethical Turn’ in Anthropology.Michael Klenk - 2019 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie (2):1-23.
    Moral philosophy continues to be enriched by an ongoing empirical turn,mainly through contributions from neuroscience, biology, and psychology. Thusfar, cultural anthropology has largely been missing. A recent and rapidly growing‘ethical turn’ within cultural anthropologynow explicitly and systematically studiesmorality. This research report aims to introduce to an audience in moral philosophyseveral notable works within the ethical turn. It does so by critically discussing theethical turn’s contributions to four topics: the definition of morality, the nature ofmoral change and progress, the truth of (...)
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  13.  35
    Evolution and Moral Disagreement.Michael Klenk - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 14 (2).
    Several philosophers have recently argued that evolutionary considerations undermine the justification of all objectivist moral beliefs by implying a hypothetical disagreement: had our evolutionary history been different, our moral beliefs would conflict with the moral beliefs of our counterfactual selves. This paper aims at showing that evolutionary considerations do not imply epistemically relevant moral disagreement. In nearby scenarios, evolutionary considerations imply tremendous moral agreement. In remote scenarios, evolutionary considerations do not entail relevant disagreement with our epistemic peers, neither on a (...)
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  14.  14
    Charting Moral Psychology’s Significance for Bioethics: Routes to Bioethical Progress, its Limits, and Lessons From Moral Philosophy.Michael Klenk - 2020 - Diametros 17 (64):36-55.
    Empirical moral psychology is sometimes dismissed as normatively insignificant because it plays no decisive role in settling ethical disputes. But that conclusion, even if it is valid for normative ethics, does not extend to bioethics. First, in contrast to normative ethics, bioethics can legitimately proceed from a presupposed moral framework. Within that framework, moral psychology can be shown to play four significant roles: it can improve bioethicists’ understanding of the decision situation, the origin and legitimacy of their moral concepts, efficient (...)
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  15.  34
    Philosophy in the Age of Science? Inquiries Into Philosophical Progess, Method, and Societal Relevance.Julia Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Wouter Kalf & Michael Klenk (eds.) - 2020 - Fordham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
    Current academic philosophy is being challenged from several angles. Subdisciplinary specialisations often make it challenging to articulate philosophy’s relevance for the societal questions of our day. Additionally, the success of the ‘scientific method’ puts pressure on philosophers to articulate their methods and specify how these can be successful. How does philosophical progress come about? What can philosophy contribute to our understanding of today’s world? Moreover, can it also contribute to resolving urgent societal challenges, such as anthropogenic climate change? This edited (...)
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  16.  12
    Why Metaethics Needs Empirical Moral Psychology.Jeroen Hopster & Michael Klenk - 2020 - Critica 52 (155).
    What is the significance of empirical moral psychology for metaethics? In this article we take up Michael Ruse’s evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism and reassess it in the context of the empirical state of the art. Ruse’s argument depends on the phenomenological presumption that people generally experience morality as objective. We demonstrate how recent experimental findings challenge this widely-shared armchair presumption and conclude that Ruse’s argument fails. We situate this finding in the recent debate about Carnapian explication and argue (...)
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  17. Autonomy and Online Manipulation.Michael Klenk & Jeff Hancock - 2019 - Internet Policy Review 1:1-11.
    More and more researchers argue that online technologies manipulate human users and, therefore, undermine their autonomy. We call this the MAL view on online technology because it argues from Manipulation to Autonomy-Loss. MAL enjoys public visibility and will shape the academic discussion to come. This view of online technology, however, fails conceptually. MAL presupposes that manipulation equals autonomy loss, and that autonomy is the absence of manipulation. That is mistaken. In short, an individual can be manipulated while being fully personally (...)
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  18. Debunking, Epistemic Achievement, and Undermining Defeat.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Several anti-debunkers have argued that evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs fail to meet a necessary condition on undermining defeat called modal security. They conclude that evolution, therefore, does not debunk our moral beliefs. This article shows that modal security is false if knowledge is virtuous achievement. New information can undermine a given belief without giving one reason to doubt that that belief is sensitive or safe. This leads to a novel conception of undermining defeat, and it shows that successful (...)
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  19. Digital Well-Being and Manipulation Online.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - In Christopher Burr & Luciano Floridi (eds.), Ethics of Digital Well-being: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Springer.
    Social media use is soaring globally. Existing research of its ethical implications predominantly focuses on the relationships amongst human users online, and their effects. The nature of the software-to-human relationship and its impact on digital well-being, however, has not been sufficiently addressed yet. This paper aims to close the gap. I argue that some intelligent software agents, such as newsfeed curator algorithms in social media, manipulate human users because they do not intend their means of influence to reveal the user’s (...)
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  20.  25
    Eric Wielenberg, Robust Ethics. The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, 196 Pp., £35 , ISBN 9780198714323. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):482-488.
  21. Hanno Sauer, Debunking Arguments in Ethics , Pp. Xi + 244. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2019 - Utilitas 8 (4):1-5.
  22. Management in a Liquid Modern World. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (2):345-349.
     
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  23.  92
    Measuring Moral Development.Michael Klenk - 2017 - de Filosoof 75:21-23.
    In the aftermath of the financial crisis, heightened awareness of ethical issues has sparked increased efforts toward moral education within universities and businesses. In many cases, psychological tests are used to measure whether moral development occurs. As long as we understand moral development as synonymous with moral progress, this may seem like a good sign: it would appear that such tests give us a handle on moral progress. Alas, moral development and moral progress are two very different things. And although (...)
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  24.  32
    Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences, Written by Thomas Pölzler. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-9.
  25.  44
    Omnivores and Synthesisers: Academic Philosophers as Interdisciplinary Specialists.Michael Klenk - 2020 - In Julia Simone Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Wouter Kalf & Michael Klenk (eds.), Philosophy in the Age of Science? Inquiries Into Philosophical Progress, Method, and Societal Relevance. Fordham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 173-194.
    I stipulate that an academic discipline is societally relevant insofar as it helps to resolve a society’s real problems. What makes such a view correct depends on meta-normative views. I show how one’s meta-normative view significantly determines the likelihood that disciplinary philosophy is of societal relevance. On normative non-naturalism, normative naturalism, and normative scepticism, the societal relevance of philosophy is in doubt. I then argue that philosophers should aim for two remedies. They should be what I call omnivores and 'synthesisers, (...)
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  26.  72
    (Online) Manipulation: Sometimes Hidden, Always Careless.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - Review of Social Economy.
    Ever-increasing numbers of human interactions with intelligent software agents, online and offline, and their increasing ability to influence humans have prompted a surge in attention toward the concept of (online) manipulation. Several scholars have argued that manipulative influence is always hidden. But manipulation is sometimes overt, and when this is acknowledged the distinction between manipulation and other forms of social influence becomes problematic. Therefore, we need a better conceptualisation of manipulation that allows it to be overt and yet clearly distinct (...)
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  27.  96
    Review of Richard Joyce's Essays in Moral Skepticism. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Perspectives 24 (1):158-162.
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  28.  27
    Review of The Social Psychology of Morality. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2016 - Metapsychology Online 20 (48):1-8.
    If you put chimpanzees from different communities together you can expect mayhem - they are not keen on treating each other nicely. There is closely related species of apes, however, whose members have countless encounters with unrelated specimen on a daily basis and yet almost all get through the day in one piece - that species is us, homo sapiens. But what makes us get along, most of the time? Morality as such is, perhaps surprisingly, not a mainstream research topic (...)
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  29. Review - Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2019 - Metapsychology 23 (24).
  30.  79
    Terence Cuneo. Speech and Morality. On the Metaethical Implications of Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (2):345-350.
  31. Thomas Pölzler, Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 11 (1):78-86.
    Thomas Pölzler’s book offers the first detailed study that focuses explicitly on the promise of science-based arguments for and against moral realism (of both the natural and non-natural kind). His two central claims are that sound arguments bearing on the realism/anti-realism debate are possible, and, yet, that four central attempts to derive metaethical conclusions from science-based arguments uniformly fail. The book then provides several recommendations for future science-based contributions to the realism/anti-realism debate to do better. The book is a valuable (...)
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  32.  14
    COVID-19, Uncertainty, and Moral Experiments.Ibo Van de Poel & Michael Klenk - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-5.
    Pandemics like COVID-19 confront us with decisions about life and death that come with great uncertainty, factual as well as moral. How should policy makers deal with such uncertainty? We suggest that rather than to deliberate until they have found the right course of action, they better do moral experiments that generate relevant experiences to enable more reliable moral evaluations and rational decisions.
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