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Profile: Sven Nyholm (Eindhoven University of Technology)
  1. The Quantified Relationship.John Danaher, Sven Nyholm & Brian D. Earp - forthcoming - American Journal of Bioethics.
    The growth of self-tracking and personal surveillance has given rise to the Quantified Self movement. Members of this movement seek to enhance their personal well-being, productivity and self-actualization through the tracking and gamification of personal data. The technologies that make this possible can also track and gamify aspects of our interpersonal, romantic relationships. Several authors have begun to challenge the ethical and normative implications of this development. In the present article, we build upon this work to provide a detailed ethical (...)
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  2.  99
    The Ethics of Accident-Algorithms for Self-Driving Cars: An Applied Trolley Problem?Sven Nyholm & Jilles Smids - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5):1275-1289.
    Self-driving cars hold out the promise of being safer than manually driven cars. Yet they cannot be a 100 % safe. Collisions are sometimes unavoidable. So self-driving cars need to be programmed for how they should respond to scenarios where collisions are highly likely or unavoidable. The accident-scenarios self-driving cars might face have recently been likened to the key examples and dilemmas associated with the trolley problem. In this article, we critically examine this tempting analogy. We identify three important ways (...)
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  3.  27
    Robot Sex and Consent: Is Consent to Sex Between a Robot and a Human Conceivable, Possible, and Desirable?Lily Frank & Sven Nyholm - 2017 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 25 (3):305-323.
    The development of highly humanoid sex robots is on the technological horizon. If sex robots are integrated into the legal community as “electronic persons”, the issue of sexual consent arises, which is essential for legally and morally permissible sexual relations between human persons. This paper explores whether it is conceivable, possible, and desirable that humanoid robots should be designed such that they are capable of consenting to sex. We consider reasons for giving both “no” and “yes” answers to these three (...)
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  4. The Good in Happiness.Jonathan Phillips, Sven Nyholm & Shen-yi Liao - 2014 - In Tania Lombrozo, Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 253–293.
    There has been a long history of arguments over whether happiness is anything more than a particular set of psychological states. On one side, some philosophers have argued that there is not, endorsing a descriptive view of happiness. Affective scientists have also embraced this view and are reaching a near consensus on a definition of happiness as some combination of affect and life-satisfaction. On the other side, some philosophers have maintained an evaluative view of happiness, on which being happy involves (...)
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  5.  20
    Attributing Agency to Automated Systems: Reflections on Human-Robot Collaborations and Responsibility-Loci.Sven Nyholm - forthcoming - Science and Engineering Ethics:1-19.
    Many ethicists writing about automated systems (e.g. self-driving cars and autonomous weapons systems) attribute agency to these systems. Not only that, they seemingly attribute an autonomous or independent form of agency to these machines. This leads some ethicists to worry about responsibility-gaps and retribution-gaps in cases where automated systems harm or kill human beings. In this paper, I consider what sorts of agency it makes sense to attribute to most current forms of automated systems, in particular automated cars and military (...)
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  6.  55
    Kant's Universal Law Formula Revisited.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (2):280-299.
    Kantians are increasingly deserting the universal law formula in favor of the humanity formula. The former, they argue, is open to various decisive objections; the two are not equivalent; and it is only by appealing to the humanity formula that Kant can reliably generate substantive implications from his theory of an acceptable sort. These assessments of the universal law formula, which clash starkly with Kant's own assessment of it, are based on various widely accepted interpretative assumptions. These assumptions, it is (...)
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  7.  79
    On Kant's Idea of Humanity as an End in Itself.Sven Nyholm - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):358-374.
    Writers like Christine Korsgaard and Allen Wood understand Kant's idea of rational nature as an end in itself as a commitment to a substantive value. This makes it hard for them to explain the supposed equivalence between the universal law and humanity formulations of the categorical imperative, since the former does not appear to assert any substantive value. Nor is it easy for defenders of value-based readings to explain Kant's claim that the law-giving nature of practical reason makes all beings (...)
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  8.  11
    Steve Clarke, Julian Savulescu, C. A. J. Coady, Alberto Giubilini, and Sagar Sanyal (Eds.), The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate, Oxford University Press, 2016, 269pp. [REVIEW]Stephen M. Campbell & Sven Nyholm - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2017.
    The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate has two chief aims. These aims are to help readers understand the existing debate and to move the debate forward. The book consists of an introductory chapter by Alberto Giubilini and Sagar Sanyal (which lays out some prominent bioconservative objections to enhancement), eight essays grouped under the theme of "Understanding the Debate" (Section I), and eight devoted to "Advancing the Debate" (Section II). In this review, we offer brief summaries of each essay (...)
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  9. Ingmar Persson, From Morality to the End of Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), Pp. 336. [REVIEW]Sven Nyholm - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (3):321-325.
    Persson argues that common sense morality involves various “asymmetries” that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny. (One example is that intentionally harming others is commonly thought to be worse than merely allowing harm to happen, even if the harm involved is equal in both cases.) A wholly rational morality would, Persson argues, be wholly symmetrical. He also argues, however, that when we get down to our most basic attitudes and dispositions, we reach the “end of reason,” at which point we (...)
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  10.  77
    Anti-Meaning and Why It Matters.Stephen M. Campbell & Sven Nyholm - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4): 694-711.
    It is widely recognized that lives and activities can be meaningful or meaningless, but few have appreciated that they can also be anti-meaningful. Anti-meaning is the polar opposite of meaning. Our purpose in this essay is to examine the nature and importance of this new and unfamiliar topic. In the first part, we sketch four theories of anti-meaning that correspond to leading theories of meaning. In the second part, we argue that anti-meaning has significance not only for our attempts to (...)
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  11. From Sex Robots to Love Robots: Is Mutual Love with a Robot Possible?Sven Nyholm & Lily Frank - forthcoming - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    Some critics of sex-robots worry that their use might spread objectifying attitudes about sex, and common sense places a higher value on sex within love-relationships than on casual sex. If there could be mutual love between humans and sex-robots, this could help to ease the worries about objectifying attitudes. And mutual love between humans and sex-robots, if possible, could also help to make this sex more valuable. But is mutual love between humans and robots possible, or even conceivable? We discuss (...)
     
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  12.  20
    On Kant's Idea of Humanity as an End in Itself.Sven Nyholm - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):358-374.
    Writers like Christine Korsgaard and Allen Wood understand Kant's idea of rational nature as an end in itself as a commitment to a substantive value. This makes it hard for them to explain the supposed equivalence between the universal law and humanity formulations of the categorical imperative, since the former does not appear to assert any substantive value. Nor is it easy for defenders of value-based readings to explain Kant's claim that the law-giving nature of practical reason makes all beings (...)
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  13.  38
    Reason-Based Value or Value-Based Reasons?Sven Nyholm - 2006 - In Björn Haglund & Helge Malmgren (eds.), Kvantifikator För En Dag. Essays Dedicated to Dag Westerståhl on His Sixtieth Birthday. Philosophical Communications. pp. 193-202.
    In this paper, I discuss practical reasons and value, assuming a coexistence thesis according to which reasons and value always go together. I start by doing some taxonomy, distinguishing among three different ways of accounting for the relation between practical reasons and the good. I argue that, of these views, the most plausible one is that according to which something’s being good just consists in how certain facts about the thing in question – other than that of how it is (...)
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  14.  3
    Is the Personal Identity Debate a "Threat" to Neurosurgical Patients? A Reply to Müller Et Al.Sven Nyholm - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-7.
    In a recent article, Sabine Müller, Merlin Bittlinger, and Henrik Walter launch a sweeping attack against what they call the "personal identity debate" as it relates to patients treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS). In this critique offered by Müller et al., the so-called personal identity debate is said to: (a) be metaphysical in a problematic way, (b) constitute a threat to patients, and (c) use "vague" and "contradictory" statements from patients and their families as direct evidence for metaphysical theories. (...)
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  15.  1
    Deep Brain Stimulation, Authenticity and Value.Sven Nyholm & Elizabeth O'Neill - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (4):658-670.
    In this paper, we engage in dialogue with Jonathan Pugh, Hannah Maslen, and Julian Savulescu about how to best interpret the potential impacts of deep brain stimulation on the self. We consider whether ordinary people’s convictions about the true self should be interpreted in essentialist or existentialist ways. Like Pugh et al., we argue that it is useful to understand the notion of the true self as having both essentialist and existentialist components. We also consider two ideas from existentialist philosophy (...)
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  16.  7
    Deep Brain Stimulation, Continuity Over Time, and the True Self.Sven Nyholm & Elizabeth O'Neill - 2016 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 25 (4):647-658.
    One of the topics that often comes up in ethical discussions of deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the question of what impact DBS has, or might have, on the patient’s self. This is often understood as a question of whether DBS poses a “threat” to personal identity, which is typically understood as having to do with psychological and/or narrative continuity over time. In this article, we argue that the discussion of whether DBS is a “threat” to continuity over time is (...)
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  17.  31
    Love Troubles: Human Attachment and Biomedical Enhancements.Sven Nyholm - 2014 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (2):190-202.
    In fascinating recent work, Julian Savulescu and his various co-authors argue that human love is one of the things we can improve upon using biomedical enhancements. Is that so? This article first notes that Savulescu and his co-authors mainly treat love as a means to various other goods. Love, however, is widely regarded as an intrinsic good. To investigate whether enhancements can produce the distinctive intrinsic good of love, this article does three things. Drawing on Philip Pettit's recent discussion of (...)
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  18.  5
    Do We Always Act on Maxims?Sven Nyholm - 2017 - Kantian Review 22 (2):233-255.
    It is commonly thought that on Kant’s view of action, ‘everyone always acts on maxims.’ Call this the ‘descriptive reading.’ This reading faces two important problems: first, the idea that people always act on maxims offends against common sense: it clashes with our ordinary ideas about human agency. Second, there are various passages in which Kant says that it is ‘rare’ and ‘admirable’ to firmly adhere to a set of basic principles that we adopt for ourselves. This article offers an (...)
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  19.  5
    The Normative and Evaluative Status of Moral Distress in Health Care Contexts.Sven Nyholm - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (12):17-19.
    Stephen Campbell, Connie Ulrich, and Christine Grady argue that we need to a broader understanding of moral distress – broader, that is, than the one commonly used within nursing-ethics and, more recently, healthcare ethics in general. On their proposed definition, moral distress is any self-directed negative attitude we might have in response to viewing ourselves as participating in a morally undesirable situation. While being in general agreement with much of what Campbell et al. say, I make two suggestions. First, in (...)
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  20.  14
    Reason with Me: Confabulation and Interpersonal Moral Reasoning.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (2):315-332.
    According to Haidt’s “social intuitionist model”, empirical moral psychology supports the following conclusion: intuition comes first, strategic reasoning second. Critics have responded by arguing that intuitions can depend on non-conscious reasons, that not being able to articulate one’s reasons doesn’t entail not being responsive to reasons, and that the relations between intuitions and reasoning can be truth-tracking and principled in ways overlooked by Haidt. This debate involves a false dichotomy: that either reasoning is truth-tracking, or else our reasoning is purely (...)
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  21.  19
    Lorraine Besser-Jones, Eudaimonic Ethics: The Philosophy and Psychology of Living Well. [REVIEW]Sven Nyholm - 2014 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014.
    Besser-Jones holds that well-being consists in having the experience of satisfying three innate psychological needs at the core of human nature: "relatedness," "autonomy," and "competence." Of these three, the first is the most central one, and we satisfy it by interacting with our fellows in caring and respectful ways: by "acting well." To act well, we need, Besser-Jones argues, a virtuous character: we need certain moral beliefs, and we need those to interact with our intentions in ways that reliably lead (...)
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  22.  13
    3 Kant’s Argument for the Humanity Formula.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter. pp. 70-118.
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  23.  18
    Just Freedom? [REVIEW]Sven Nyholm - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (4):441-445.
    In Just Freedom, Pettit presents a powerful new statement and defense of the traditional “republican” conception of liberty or freedom. And he claims that freedom can serve as an ecumenical value with broad appeal, which we can put at the basis of a distinctively republican theory of justice. That is, Pettit argues that this “conception of freedom as non-domination allows us to see all issues of justice as issues, ultimately, of what freedom demands.” It is not, however, clear that liberty (...)
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  24.  13
    The Medicalization of Love and Narrow and Broad Conceptions of Human Well-Being.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (3):337-346.
    Would a “medicalization” of love be a “good” or “bad” form of medicalization? In discussing this question, Earp, Sandberg, and Savulescu primarily focus on the potential positive and negative consequences of turning love into a medical issue. But it can also be asked whether there is something intrinsically regrettable about medicalizing love. It is argued here that the medicalization of love can be seen as an “evaluative category mistake”: it treats a core human value as if it were mainly a (...)
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  25.  2
    Motivation-Enhancements and Domain-Specific Values.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (1):37-39.
    Recent research suggests that “smart drugs” don’t make healthy individuals who use them smarter. The main effects are instead on levels of motivation and interest. So the main ethical question here is not whether there is anything wrong or regrettable about healthy individuals’ using these drugs to make themselves smarter. It is rather whether there is anything problematic about their using these drugs to control or modulate their levels of motivation and interest. This question can either be discussed on a (...)
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  26.  5
    2 Reinterpreting the Universal Law Formula.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter. pp. 25-69.
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  27.  4
    1 Introduction: The Human Nature Formula.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter. pp. 1-24.
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  28.  2
    Bibliography.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter. pp. 159-164.
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  29.  2
    4 Permissibility, Virtue, and the Highest Good.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter. pp. 119-158.
  30.  2
    Acknowledgements.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter.
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  31. Index.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter. pp. 165-168.
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  32. List of Abbreviations.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - In Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas. De Gruyter.
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  33. On the Universal Law and Humanity Formulas.Sven Nyholm - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    Whereas the universal law formula says to choose one’s basic guiding principles (or “maxims”) on the basis of their fitness to serve as universal laws, the humanity formula says to always treat the humanity in each person as an end, and never as a means only. Commentators and critics have been puzzled by Kant’s claims that these are two alternative statements of the same basic law, and have raised various objections to Kant’s suggestion that these are the most basic formulas (...)
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  34.  23
    Revisiting Kant's Universal Law and Humanity Formulas.Sven Nyholm - 2015 - De Gruyter.
    This book offers new readings of Kant’s “universal law” and “humanity” formulations of the categorical imperative. It shows how, on these readings, the formulas do indeed turn out being alternative statements of the same basic moral law, and in the process responds to many of the standard objections raised against Kant’s theory. Its first chapter briefly explores the ways in which Kant draws on his philosophical predecessors such as Plato (and especially Plato’s Republic) and Jean-Jacque Rousseau. The second chapter offers (...)
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  35. When Is Deep Brain Stimulation a Medical Benefit, and What Is Required for Consent?Sven Nyholm & Stephen M. Campbell - 2016 - AJOB Neuroscience 7 (3):150-152.
    Hübner and White argue that we should not administer DBS to psychopathic prisoners. While we are sympathetic to their conclusion, we argue that the authors’ two central arguments for this conclusion are problematic. Their first argument appeals to an overly restrictive conception of individual medical benefit: namely, that an individual medical benefit must alleviate subjective suffering. We highlight cases that clearly constitute individual medical benefits although there is no relief of subjective suffering. The second argument depends on an overly restrictive (...)
     
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