There are at least three things we might mean by "ethics in robotics": the ethical systems built into robots, the ethics of people who design and use robots, and the ethics of how people treat robots. This paper argues that the best approach to robot ethics is one which addresses all three of these, and to do this it ought to consider robots as socio-technical systems. By so doing, it is possible to think of a continuum of agency that lies (...) between amoral and fully autonomous moral agents. Thus, robots might move gradually along this continuum as they acquire greater capabilities and ethical sophistication. It also argues that many of the issues regarding the distribution of responsibility in complex socio-technical systems might best be addressed by looking to legal theory, rather than moral theory. This is because our overarching interest in robot ethics ought to be the practical one of preventing robots from doing harm, as well as preventing humans from unjustly avoiding responsibility for their actions. (shrink)
In epistemology and in philosophy of language there is fierce debate about the role of context in knowledge, understanding, and meaning. Many contemporary epistemologists take seriously the thesis that epistemic vocabulary is context-sensitive. This thesis is of course a semantic claim, so it has brought epistemologists into contact with work on context in semantics by philosophers of language. This volume brings together the debates, in a set of twelve specially written essays representing the latest work by leading figures in the (...) two fields. All future work on contextualism will start here. Contributors: Kent Bach, Herman Cappelen, Andy Egan, Michael Glanzberg, John Hawthorne, Ernest Lepore, Peter Ludlow, Peter Pagin, Georg Peter, Paul M. Pietroski, Gerhard Preyer, Jonathan Schaffer, Jason Stanley, Brian Weatherson, Timothy Williamson. (shrink)
This study examined whether undergraduate students’ perceptions regarding the acceptability of cheating were influenced by the amount of ethics instruction the students had received and/or by their personality. The results, from a sample of 230 upper-level undergraduate students, indicated that simply taking a business ethics course did not have a significant influence on students’ views regarding cheating. On the other hand, Machiavellianism was positively related to perceiving that two forms of cheating were acceptable. Moreover, in testing for moderating relationships, the (...) results indicated that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced attitudes varied substantially across individuals. Specifically, taking a course in business ethics did result in students who scored lower on Machiavellianism holding even more negative views regarding certain forms of cheating. In addition, individuals with higher grade point averages (GPAs) who had taken a course in business ethics were also less accepting of certain forms of cheating than individuals with similar GPAs who had not taken the business ethics course. The implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Considering Pragma-Dialectics honors the monumental contributions of one of the foremost international figures in current argumentation scholarship: Frans van Eemeren. The volume presents the research efforts of his colleagues and addresses how their work relates to the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation with which van Eemeren’s name is so intimately connected. This tribute serves to highlight the varied approaches to the study of argumentation and is destined to inspire researchers to advance scholarship in the field far into the future. Replete with (...) contributions from highly-esteemed academics in argumentation study, chapters in this volume address such topics as: *Pragma-dialectic versus epistemic theories of arguing and arguments; *Pragma-dialectics and self-advocacy in physician-patient interactions; *The pragma-dialectical analysis of the ad hominem family; *Rhetoric, dialectic, and the functions of argument; and *The semantics of reasonableness. As an exceptional volume and a fitting tribute, this work will be of interest to all argumentation scholars considering the astute insights and scholarly legacy of Frans van Eemeren. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the design argument, which states that the seemingly purposeful features of the natural world point to the existence of a supernatural designer. The purpose of this article is to give a brief survey of the fine-tuning of the fundamental constants in physics and cosmology, and complexity in biology, and their potential implications for the design argument. Contingency in the history of the earth and the evolution of life on earth is (...) also discussed, and some of the problems associated with inferring design from scientific investigations of nature are evaluated. It is concluded that an unambiguous detection of design in nature is not possible, but that this does not eliminate the demand for an ultimate explanation of the existence of the universe and the life it harbours. (shrink)
Define ‘het’ as a predicate that truly applies to itself if and only if it does not truly apply to itself and which also truly applies to any predicate that does not truly apply to its own name. We know that the attempted definition of ‘hes’ is a failure, and so a fortiori is that of ‘het’. Similarly, there is no Qussell class which contains itself as a member if and only if it does not contain itself as a member, (...) so a fortiori there is no Russell Class which contains itself as a member if and only if it does not contain itself as a member and which also contains all and only non-self-membered classes (such as the class of dogs). The second conjunct in both the definition of ‘het’ and of the Russell class cannot revive a definition doomed to failure. Likewise, the ‘definition’ of n as ‘n > 1 iff n < 1’ fails, and the attempted definition of m as ‘m > 1 iff m < 1 and m is prime’ is hopeless too; its final clause buys it no respectability. (shrink)
According to the metaethics of R. M. Hare, we determine morality objectively by making a moral judgment, committing to the moral principle underlying that judgment, and then logically extending that moral principle to all relevantly similar cases. This metaethical system called universal prescriptivism had a major impact on Peter Singer, whose arguments for radically improving animal welfare and alleviating global suffering frequently rely on Hare-ian appeals to logical consistency. Hare’s work in metaethics is largely rejected now, but Singer’s popularity (...) has kept Hare’s prescriptivism alive through the many animal welfarists and effective altruists who have borrowed Singer’s style in their own logic-based calls for the obligation to reduce suffering impartially. In this paper, I will describe Hare’s metaethics, show how this has served as Singer’s own metaethics for most of his academic career, and then I will describe a problem for Hare’s system that is particularly relevant to effective altruists who have been influenced by Singer’s early writings and may be repeating the mistakes that Hare bequeathed to Singer. (shrink)
Andocidis Orationes edidit Iustus Hermann Lipsius; pp. xxxii, 67. B. Tauchnitz, Leipzig, 1888. M. 1. 20. Andocidis de Mysteriis et de Reditu; edited by E. C. Marchant, B.A., late scholar of Peter house, Cambridge; Assistant Master at St. Paul's School. Rivingtons, London, 1889. 5s.