Engineers are normally seen as the archetype of people who make decisions in a rational and quantitative way. However, technological design is not value neutral. The way a technology is designed determines its possibilities, which can, for better or for worse, have consequences for human wellbeing. This leads various scholars to the claim that engineers should explicitly take into account ethical considerations. They are at the cradle of new technological developments and can thereby influence the possible risks and benefits more (...) directly than anybody else. I have argued elsewhere that emotions are an indispensable source of ethical insight into ethical aspects of risk. In this paper I will argue that this means that engineers should also include emotional reflection into their work. This requires a new understanding of the competencies of engineers: they should not be unemotional calculators; quite the opposite, they should work to cultivate their moral emotions and sensitivity, in order to be engaged in morally responsible engineering. (shrink)
In this article, we explore the role that art can play in ethical reflection on risky and controversial technologies. New technologies often give rise to societal controversies about their potential risks and benefits. Over the last decades, social scientists, psychologists, and philosophers have criticized quantitative approaches to risk on the grounds that they oversimplify its societal and ethical implications. There is broad consensus amongst these scholars that stakeholders and their values and concerns should be included in decision-making about technological risks. (...) It has also been argued that the emotional responses of people can shed important light on the ethical aspects of risk and uncertainty. However, people’s emotions can be narrowly focused and biased. This article therefore assesses the role that technology-inspired artworks can play in overcoming such biases, by challenging our imagination and providing us with different perspectives on possible technological developments and their implications for society. Philosophers have not yet studied such artworks, so this constitutes an entirely new field of research for scholars of risk and moral theory. In particular, we focus on the case of BNCI technologies and related artworks. These technologies and artworks touch on questions of what it means to be human, thereby raising profound ethical and philosophical challenges. We discuss the experiences of artists, scientists, and engineers who are directly involved with BNCI technologies, and who were interviewed during a Hackathon at Amsterdam’s Waag Society in June 2016. Their views are analyzed in light of philosophical and aesthetic theories, which allows us to consider relevant ethical and conceptual issues as well as topics for further investigation. (shrink)
Emotions are often met with suspicion in political debates about risky technologies, because they are seen as contrary to rational decision making. However, recent emotion research rejects such a dichotomous view of reason and emotion, by seeing emotions as an important source of moral insight. Moral emotions such as compassion and feelings of responsibility and justice can play an important role in judging ethical aspects of technological risks, such as justice, fairness, and autonomy. This article discusses how this idea can (...) be integrated into approaches for political decision making about risk. The article starts with an analysis of the dichotomous view of reason and emotion in risk theory, in approaches to participatory risk assessment as well as in relevant approaches to political philosophy. This article then presents alternative approaches in political philosophy and political theory that do explicitly endorse the importance of emotions. Based on these insights, a procedural approach for policy making is presented, in which emotional responses to technological risks, and the ethical concerns that lie behind them, are taken seriously. This approach allows for morally better political decisions about risky technologies and a better understanding between experts and laypeople. (shrink)
This volume brings together new work by leading philosophers on the topics of emotion and value, and explores issues at their intersection. Recent work in philosophy and psychology has had important implications for topics such as the role that emotions play in practical rationality and moral psychology, the connection between imagination and emotion in the appreciation of fiction, and more generally with the ability of emotions to discern axiological saliences and to ground the objectivity of ethical or aesthetic value judgements. (...) This volume makes a unique contribution to scholarship on emotion and value by bringing together top authors from these lines of research. In addition, it explores various links between the emotions and self-understanding, touching on a range of themes that include depression, empathy, agency, guilt, and self-trust. All of these issues are approached from a number of different perspectives in order to present the reader with a wide view of this extremely rich terrain and to demonstrate how the latest thinking in a number of currently intensive areas of research is deeply interconnected. (shrink)
Women who suffer from fertility issues often use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to realize their wish to have children. However, IVF has its own set of strict administration rules that leave the women physically and emotionally exhausted. Feeling alienated and frustrated, many IVF users turn to internet IVF-centered forums to share their stories and to find information and support. Based on the observation of Dutch and Greek IVF forums and a selection of 109 questionnaires from Dutch and Greek IVF forum (...) users, we investigate the reasons why users of IVF participate in online communities centered on IVF, their need for emotional expression and support, and how they experience and use the information and support they receive through their participation in the online community. We argue that the emotional concerns expressed in such forums should be taken into account by health care ethics committees for IVF-related matters in order to promote more patient-oriented care and support for women going through IVF. (shrink)
Jonathan Dancy has developed a very refined theory called ethical particularism. He has argued extensively for the metaphysical part of his position. However, the accompanying epistemology is not yet clear. In this paper I will sketch a particularist epistemology that is consistent with Dancy’s particularist metaphysics, although my approach differs in certain respects from epistemological claims Dancy has made. I will defend an epistemology that states: 1. that moral knowledge is based on intuitions and 2. that we need emotions in (...) order to have moral knowledge. I will call this approach ‘affectual intuitionism’. Dancy rejects both claims, but I will argue that his arguments against these claims are not convincing. (shrink)
The name of Thomas Reid rarely appears in discussions of the history of moral thought. This is a pity, since Reid has a lot of interesting ideas that can contribute to the current discussions in meta-ethics. Reid can be understood as an ethical intuitionist. What makes his account especially interesting is the role affective states play in his intuitionist theory. Reid defends a cognitive theory of moral emotions. According to Reid, there are moral feelings that are the result of a (...) moral judgment made by reason. The judgment and the feeling together constitute what Reid calls sentiments. Reid thinks that affective states (feelings and sentiments) play the role of helping reason to guide and control the egoistic feelings and passions. The affective states are particularly important, in Reid's view, because the motivating force of reason is often defeated by the stronger motivating force of the passions. So without affective states, we would often not be able to do what is morally good or right. In this paper, I will argue that the role of the affective states is still too limited in Reid's approach. He takes affective states to have a merely motivational function, namely, to help reason to control the passions and motivate to action where reason is too weak. Reid thinks that in making moral judgments we do not need to have feelings, feelings are at most a result of a judgment. Instead, I will argue that affective states also play an epistemological role. (shrink)
People can be risk seeking and risk averse, but people can also be uncertainty averse: in other words, if risk is at least the possibility of an unwanted affect, then it is not only the unwanted effect that they want to avoid, it can also be the uncertainty inherent in the possibility that they wish to avoid. This uncertainty aversion can even lead to a state where someone prefers a certain outcome at all costs, even when it is the worst (...) case. This gives rise to the following paradox: the worst case seems to be more acceptable than the state where there is still a chance that it will not materialize. We can call this the Unbearable Uncertainty Paradox. This essay provides a first conceptual sketch of this phenomenon that seems to be widespread but nevertheless does not appear to have been identified before, either by philosophers or by psychologists. (shrink)
Despite the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, a growing number of countries are interested in expanding or introducing nuclear energy. However, nuclear energy production and nuclear waste disposal give rise to pressing ethical questions that society needs to face. This book takes up this challenge with essays by an international team of scholars focusing on the key issues of risk, justice, and democracy. The essays consider a range of ethical issues, including radiological protection, the influence of (...) gender in the acceptability of nuclear risk, and environmental, international, and intergenerational justice in the context of nuclear energy. They also address the question of when, and under which conditions, nuclear energy should play a role in the world's future supply of electricity, looking at both developing and industrialized countries. The book will interest readers in ethics and political philosophy, social and political sciences, nuclear engineering, and policy studies. (shrink)
At the same time new versions of foundationalism were crafted, that were claimed to be immune to the earlier criticisms. This volume contains 12 papers in which various aspects of this dialectic are covered.
In this chapter we argue that emotions are mediated in an incomplete way in online social media because of the heavy reliance on textual messages which fosters a rationalistic bias and an inclination towards less nuanced emotional expressions. This incompleteness can happen either by obscuring emotions, showing less than the original intensity, misinterpreting emotions, or eliciting emotions without feedback and context. Online interactions and deliberations tend to contribute rather than overcome stalemates and informational bubbles, partially due to prevalence of anti-social (...) emotions. It is tempting to see emotions as being the cause of the problem of online verbal aggression and bullying. However, we argue that social media are actually designed in a predominantly rationalistic way, because of the reliance on text-based communication, thereby filtering out social emotions and leaving space for easily expressed antisocial emotions. Based on research on emotions that sees these as key ingredients to moral interaction and deliberation, as well as on research on text-based versus non-verbal communication, we propose a richer understanding of emotions, requiring different designs of online deliberation platforms. We propose that such designs should move from text-centred designs and should find ways to incorporate the complete expression of the full range of human emotions so that these can play a constructive role in online deliberations. (shrink)
Climate change is a pressing phenomenon with huge potential ethical, legal and social policy implications. Climate change gives rise to intricate moral and policy issues as it involves contested science, uncertainty and risk. In order to come to scientifically and morally justified, as well as feasible, policies, targeting climate change requires an interdisciplinary approach. This special issue will identify the main challenges that climate change poses from social, economic, methodological and ethical perspectives by focusing on the complex interrelations between uncertainty, (...) values and policy in this context. This special issue brings together scholars from economics, social sciences and philosophy in order to address these challenges. (shrink)
In de kunsttheorie zijn er verschillende opvattingen over wat we zien of beoordelen als we een schilderij voor ons hebben die niet gericht zijn op de esthetische aspecten van het kunstwerk zelf. Analoog daaraan komen we in de ethiek ook interpretaties tegen van wát we zien of beoordelen als we morele aspecten van de wereld bekijken die niet over de ethische aspecten van de wereld zelf gaan. In dit artikel betoog ik dat beide het mis hebben: zowel in de kunst (...) als in de ethiek is het zinvol om te kijken naar de esthetische of ethische aspecten van de werkelijkheid zelf. (shrink)
After decades of being met with suspicion or even disdain the epistemic role of intuitions – and specifically the school of ethical intuitionism – has seen a revival. This revival has been undertaken by both leading moral philosophers such as Jonathan Dancy and Robert Audi and moral psychologists like Jonathan Haidt and Joshua Greene.See Jonathan Dancy, Ethics Without Principles (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), Robert Audi, The Good in the Right. A Theory of Intuition and Intrinsic Value (Princeton: Princeton University (...) Press, 2003) and Joshua D. Greene and Jonathan Haidt, “How (and Where) Does Moral Judgment Work?,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6 (2002): 517–523.Dancy, for example, has argued that moral principles play no substantive role in moral thought and judgement. Since it has traditionally been assumed that our particular moral judgements are justified on the basis of the more general moral principles from which they are derived, Dancy’s moral epistemology takes a diffe. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss the importance of emotions for ethical reflection on technological developments, as well as the role that art can play in this. We review literature that argues that emotions can and should play an important role in the assessment and acceptance of technological risk and in designing morally responsible technologies. We then investigate how technologically engaged art can contribute to critical, emotional-moral reflection on technological risks. The role of art that engages with technology is unexplored territory (...) and gives rise to many fascinating philosophical questions that have not yet been sufficiently addressed in the literature. (shrink)
This is the first edited collection to bring together classic pieces and new work by leading scholars of Thomas Reid. The contributors explore key elements of Reid's moral theory in an organised and thematic way, offering a balanced and broad ranging volume.