We present a logic-based formalism for modeling ofdialogues between intelligent and autonomous software agents,building on a theory of abstract dialogue games which we present.The formalism enables representation of complex dialogues assequences of moves in a combination of dialogue games, and allowsdialogues to be embedded inside one another. The formalism iscomputational and its modular nature enables different types ofdialogues to be represented.
Recent proposals for computer-assisted argumentation have drawn on dialectical models of argumentation. When used to assist public policy planning, such systems also raise questions of political legitimacy. Drawing on deliberative democratic theory, we elaborate normative criteria for deliberative legitimacy and illustrate their use for assessing two argumentation systems. Full assessment of such systems requires experiments in which system designers draw on expertise from the social sciences and enter into the policy deliberation itself at the level of participants.
Senior lecturers/lecturers in mental health nursing (11 in round one, nine in round two, and eight in the final round) participated in a three-round Delphi study into the teaching of health care ethics (HCE) to students of nursing. The participants were drawn from six (round one) and four (round three) UK universities. Information was gathered on the organization, methods used and content of HCE modules. Questionnaire responses were transcribed and the content analysed for patterns of interest and areas of convergence (...) or divergence. Findings include: the majority (72.8%) of the sample believed that insufficient time was allocated to the teaching of HCE; case studies were considered a popular, although problematic, teaching method; the ‘four principles’ approach was less than dominant in the teaching of HCE; and virtue ethics was taught by only 36.4% of the participants. The Delphi technique proved adequate and worth while for the purposes of this study. Further empirical research could aim to replicate or contradict these findings, using a larger sample and recruiting more university departments. Reflection is required on several issues, including the depth and breadth to which ethics theory and, more controversially, meta-ethics, are taught to nursing students. (shrink)
On ethics and gender -- Feminism as an ethics of gender -- Is ethics a man's subject? -- The matter of bodies -- The subject of language -- The power of agency -- Engendering ethics -- Conceiving of difference -- Subjected in hope -- For love of God.
Formal dialogue games have been studied in philosophy since at least the time of Aristotle. Recently they have been applied in various contexts in computer science and artificial intelligence, particularly as the basis for interaction between autonomous software agents. We review these applications and discuss the many open research questions and challenges at this exciting interface between philosophy and computer science.
In a recent paper, Pierluigi Barrotta argues that Mises ‘ended up by defending an epistemological tenet very far from Kant's’ , concluding that ‘Mises's apriorism cannot be vindicated through Kant's epistemology’ . In contrast, I shall argue that certain of Mises's arguments can be reconstructed in Kantian terms, and thus the distance between Mises and Kant is not as extreme as Barrotta's argument may appear to suggest. Specifically, I shall argue that Mises, like Kant, seeks to establish the a priori (...) nature of the category of causality. To this extent at least, Mises's apriorism can be vindicated through Kant's epistemology. (shrink)
What the moral theologian has to teach concerning the Sermon on the Mount depends fundamentally on how these words of the Lord are heard. With hearing comes understanding, and because this Sermon is considered in the tradition to be a kind of interpretative key to any understanding of the Christian life as such, the way one hears what is being said is critical to the formation and practices of faith in the believer. In an age determined by nihilism, this hearing (...) has been overtaken by the need to reassert the moral god, in consequence of which faith is reduced to its service in propping up an otherwise endangered morality, however variously that may be described. This is illustrated with reference to John Paul II's encyclical letter, Veritatis Splendor. What is lost through such an account is the hearing of this Sermon as a word of grace, from out of whose movement the hearer is prepared for the reception of faith and is turned out toward the future with God. St Thomas Aquinas's teaching shows how each use of grace is an event of appropriation wherein the believer is conformed to Christ, so that in one's understanding and making one's own of what is being heard, God is claiming His own. (shrink)
We present a generic denotational semantic framework for protocols for dialogs between rational and autonomous agents over action which allows for retraction and revocation of proposals for action. The semantic framework views participants in a deliberation dialog as jointly and incrementally manipulating the contents of shared spaces of action-intention tokens. The framework extends prior work by decoupling the identity of an agent who first articulates a proposal for action from the identity of any agent then empowered to retract or revoke (...) the proposal, thereby permitting proposals, entreaties, commands, promises, etc., to be distinguished semantically. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical investigation of the theological assumptions that lie within three forms of modern feminist ethics, with a view to challenging feminist ethics to enter the new theological possibilities opened up in postmodernity for the conceiving of god. The first part of the paper considers the conceiving of god in modern feminisms, in which theology becomes ethics. The consequences of this development are considered. The second part of the paper investigates the turn into postmodernity which hears the (...) saying of the death of god and the critique of onto-theology. This disturbance to the foundations of feminist ethics is understood as part of a wider critique of humanism manifest particularly in gender theory. That the end of the modern human subject might allow a conceiving of god through an understanding of the performative is the restored orthodoxy to which the paper points. (shrink)
This article examines the strange and special character of the work of dying manifest in Christian faith. As a discipline of thinking, ethics arises in response to the transience of life as a way of securing the future, both lending its support to technological interventions and at the same time prompting a new kind of question concerning ‘for what’ something should be done. Christian faith arising from the death and resurrection of the Son of God lives from out of another (...) possibility—that in receiving God’s love, the human soul may be turned from out of death into a future life in the divine presence. (shrink)
The central thrust of this article is to prompt new consideration of how faith and reason are understood to be at work in the discipline of theological ethics. To bring into question contemporary assumptions, a close reading of Aristotle is undertaken to illuminate his understanding of phronesis as a uniquely self-involving way of thinking that is transformative of the thinker. Phronesis, which may be translated as mindfulness, is shown to distinguish what is essential to ethical thinking. This philosophical preparation may (...) clear a way for theology likewise to be understood anew. Kierkegaard’s reflection on Abraham’s experience of faith in Fear and Trembling discloses how theology is the working out by means of phronesis of the salvation disclosed to faith in the believer’s soul. In these two phenomena—mindfulness and faith—lies what is essential to the practice of Christian ethics. (shrink)
Trust is a natural mechanism by which an autonomous party, an agent, can deal with the inherent uncertainty regarding the behaviours of other parties and the uncertainty in the information it shares with those parties. Trust is thus crucial in any decentralised system. This paper builds on recent efforts to use argumentation to reason about trust. Specifically, a set of schemes is provided, and abstract patterns of reasoning that apply in multiple situations geared towards trust. Schemes are described in which (...) one agent, A, can establish arguments for trusting another agent, B, directly, as well as schemes that A can use to construct arguments for trusting C, where C is trusted by B. For both sets of schemes, a set of critical questions is offered that identify the situations in which these schemes can fail. (shrink)
In Marquis's recent paper he has not satisfactorily shown that killing does not adversely affect the victim's present self-represented desires for their future. Marquis is correct in believing life and death are distinct, but living and dying are not. In fact, to use a well-known saying, “the second we are born we start to die”. During the process of dying, whether it be long as in over our lifetime or short as in as we are being killed, there comes a (...) point when the present realistic desires we have we know will never be satisfied. This is why killing can be wrong. This would imply killing an unconscious person, infant, or fetus cannot be wrong. But such killing can be wrong, despite the person killed not experiencing the desire not to be killed as he was dying. Killing can be wrong because others can have a present self-represented desire for that person not to be killed to have been killed. If this line of reasoning is correct, then the “best interests” principle often applied to life and death considerations regarding unconscious persons, infants, and fetuses, is invalid, as such human beings do not have present desires. All that matters is what relevant others rationally desire, after being informed of the facts and the consequences, for that unconscious person, infant or fetus. (shrink)
As the signs of the highest expectations of the world’s economy come crashing down around us and the dust settles on a sorrowing humanity led foolishly towards war as its only and immediate prospect, ethical thinking is called upon to hold open the way for us to find the truth by which we are to live, and to do so with intellectual acuity and pastoral sensitivity. What might this way be? This paper is written as a preliminary exploration of the (...) question of this way, and of the truth to which ethics is ordered, and it is written to enquire about the way that is being drawn out by a global ethics. (shrink)
We aim to build intelligent systems which can reason autonomously about the carcinogenicity of chemicals. Scientific debates in this area draw on evidence from multiple, and often conflicting sources, both theoretical and experimental, and participants use various modes of inferential reasoning. In seeking to automate such reasoning, we have first articulated precisely the multiple modes of inference used when an assertion of human carcinogenicity is made from experimental animal evidence. Because such inferences are often contested, scientific debate in this domain (...) can be vigorous. To model such debates, we propose the use of a form of dialectical argumentation, drawing on Habermas' philosophy of Discourse Ethics  and Pera's philosophy of science . The resulting formalism permits the representation of uncertainty and disagreement regarding the modes of inference used, as well as the claims being asserted. (shrink)