Robots and the Limits of Morality

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In this chapter, I ask whether we can coherently conceive of robots as moral agents and as moral patients. I answer both questions negatively but conditionally: for as long as robots lack certain features, they can be neither moral agents nor moral patients. These answers, of course, are not new. They have, yet, recently been the object of sustained critical attention (Coeckelbergh 2014; Gunkel 2014). The novelty of this contribution, then, resides in arriving at these precise answers by way of arguments that avoid these recent challenges. This is achieved by considering the psychological and biological bases of moral practices and arguing that the relevant differences in such bases are sufficient, for the time being, to exclude robots from adopting, both, an active and a passive moral role.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Robots : Boundaries, Potential, Challenges
EditorsMarco Nørskov
Number of pages17
Place of publicationUK
PublisherAshgate
Publication year28 Jan 2016
Pages39-55
ISBN (print)978-1-4724-7430-8, 1472474309
ISBN (Electronic)9781472474315
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2016
SeriesEmerging Technologies, Ethics and International Affairs

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