The aim of this paper is to offer an analysis of the notion of artificial moral agent (AMA) and of its impact on human beings’ self-understanding as moral agents. Firstly, I introduce the topic by presenting what I call the Continuity Approach. Its main claim holds that AMAs and human moral agents exhibit no significant qualitative difference and, therefore, should be considered homogeneous entities. Secondly, I focus on the consequences this approach leads to. In order to do this I take into consideration the work of Bostrom and Dietrich, who have radically assumed this viewpoint and thoroughly explored its implications. Thirdly, I present an alternative approach to AMAs—the Discontinuity Approach—which underscores an essential difference between human moral agents and AMAs by tackling the matter from another angle. In this section I concentrate on the work of Johnson and Bryson and I highlight the link between their claims and Heidegger’s and Jonas’s suggestions concerning the relationship between human beings and technological products. In conclusion I argue that, although the Continuity Approach turns out to be a necessary postulate to the machine ethics project, the Discontinuity Approach highlights a relevant distinction between AMAs and human moral agents. On this account, the Discontinuity Approach generates a clearer understanding of what AMAs are, of how we should face the moral issues they pose, and, finally, of the difference that separates machine ethics from moral philosophy.

Artificial moral agents: moral mentors or sensible tools?

Fossa, F.
2018-01-01

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to offer an analysis of the notion of artificial moral agent (AMA) and of its impact on human beings’ self-understanding as moral agents. Firstly, I introduce the topic by presenting what I call the Continuity Approach. Its main claim holds that AMAs and human moral agents exhibit no significant qualitative difference and, therefore, should be considered homogeneous entities. Secondly, I focus on the consequences this approach leads to. In order to do this I take into consideration the work of Bostrom and Dietrich, who have radically assumed this viewpoint and thoroughly explored its implications. Thirdly, I present an alternative approach to AMAs—the Discontinuity Approach—which underscores an essential difference between human moral agents and AMAs by tackling the matter from another angle. In this section I concentrate on the work of Johnson and Bryson and I highlight the link between their claims and Heidegger’s and Jonas’s suggestions concerning the relationship between human beings and technological products. In conclusion I argue that, although the Continuity Approach turns out to be a necessary postulate to the machine ethics project, the Discontinuity Approach highlights a relevant distinction between AMAs and human moral agents. On this account, the Discontinuity Approach generates a clearer understanding of what AMAs are, of how we should face the moral issues they pose, and, finally, of the difference that separates machine ethics from moral philosophy.
2018
Artificial moral agents
Ethics of technology
Machine ethics
Machine morality
Moral agency
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1172740
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