•  183
    Robot rights? Towards a social-relational justification of moral consideration
    Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3): 209-221. 2010.
    Should we grant rights to artificially intelligent robots? Most current and near-future robots do not meet the hard criteria set by deontological and utilitarian theory. Virtue ethics can avoid this problem with its indirect approach. However, both direct and indirect arguments for moral consideration rest on ontological features of entities, an approach which incurs several problems. In response to these difficulties, this paper taps into a different conceptual resource in order to be able to g…Read more
  •  59
    A Survey of Expectations About the Role of Robots in Robot-Assisted Therapy for Children with ASD: Ethical Acceptability, Trust, Sociability, Appearance, and Attachment
    with Cristina Pop, Ramona Simut, Andreea Peca, Sebastian Pintea, Daniel David, and Bram Vanderborght
    Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (1): 47-65. 2016.
    The use of robots in therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder raises issues concerning the ethical and social acceptability of this technology and, more generally, about human–robot interaction. However, usually philosophical papers on the ethics of human–robot-interaction do not take into account stakeholders’ views; yet it is important to involve stakeholders in order to render the research responsive to concerns within the autism and autism therapy community. To support responsible …Read more
  •  8
    Money as Medium and Tool
    Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 19 (3): 358-380. 2015.
    This article explores the relevance of Georg Simmel’s phenomenology of money and interpretation of modernity for understanding and evaluating contemporary financial information and communication technologies. It reads Simmel as a philosopher of technology and phenomenologist whose view of money as a medium, a “pure” tool, and a social institution can help us to think about contemporary financial media and technologies. The analysis focuses on the social-spatial implications of financial ICTs. It…Read more
  •  23
    How can we best theorize technology and the good society? This essay responds to this issue by showing how our assumptions about the meaning of the social and the political influence our evaluations of the impact of new technologies on society, and how, conversely, new technologies also shape the concepts we use to evaluate them. In the course of the analysis, the essay offers a polemic that questions individualist approaches to the good society and individualist assumptions about the social, es…Read more
  •  49
    In this paper, we engage in a philosophical investigation of how blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrencies can mediate our social world. Emerging blockchain-based decentralised applications have the potential to transform our financial system, our bureaucracies and models of governance. We construct an ontological framework of “narrative technologies” that allows us to show how these technologies, like texts, can configure our social reality. Drawing from the work of Ricoeur and respondin…Read more
  •  12
    This reply to Gunkel and Zwart further reflects on, and responds to, the following main points: the Heideggerian character of my view and the potential link to Kafka, the suggestion that we should become hackers, the interpretation of my approach in terms of the Hegelian Master–Slave dialectic, the lack of an empirical dimension, and the claim that I think that modern heroism entails overcoming vulnerability. I acknowledge Heideggerian influence, reflect on what it could mean to think about livi…Read more
  •  8
    Vulnerable Cyborgs: Learning to Live with our Dragons
    Journal of Evolution and Technology 22 (1): 1-9. 2011.
    Transhumanist visions appear to aim at invulnerability. We are invited to fight the dragon of death and disease, to shed our old, human bodies, and to live on as invulnerable minds or cyborgs. This paper argues that even if we managed to enhance humans in one of these ways, we would remain highly vulnerable entities given the fundamentally relational and dependent nature of posthuman existence. After discussing the need for minds to be embodied, the issue of disease and death in the infosphere, …Read more
  •  90
    Facing Animals: A Relational, Other-Oriented Approach to Moral Standing
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (5): 715-733. 2014.
    In this essay we reflect critically on how animal ethics, and in particular thinking about moral standing, is currently configured. Starting from the work of two influential “analytic” thinkers in this field, Peter Singer and Tom Regan, we examine some basic assumptions shared by these positions and demonstrate their conceptual failings—ones that have, despite efforts to the contrary, the general effect of marginalizing and excluding others. Inspired by the so-called “continental” philosophical …Read more
  •  3
    Too close to kill, too far to talk: Interpretation and narrative in drone fighting and surveillance in public places
    Leenes, R., Kosta E. (Eds.) Bridging Distances in Technology and Regulation, Oisterwijk, Wolf Legal Publishers (WLP) 125-133. 2013.
    Like other teletechnological practices, drone fighting as remote fighting gives rise to a paradox with regard to the relation between ethics and distance: on the one hand, it bridges physical distance in the sense that it enables spying on people and killing people in other parts of the world. On the other hand, it seems to increase moral distance: if you are far away from your target, it becomes easier to kill. However, based on interviews with drone crew as published in the media, I show that …Read more
  •  168
    Can we trust robots?
    Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1): 53-60. 2012.
    Can we trust robots? Responding to the literature on trust and e-trust, this paper asks if the question of trust is applicable to robots, discusses different approaches to trust, and analyses some preconditions for trust. In the course of the paper a phenomenological-social approach to trust is articulated, which provides a way of thinking about trust that puts less emphasis on individual choice and control than the contractarian-individualist approach. In addition, the argument is made that whi…Read more
  •  63
    Principles or imagination? Two approaches to global justice
    Journal of Global Ethics 3 (2). 2007.
    What does it mean to introduce the notion of imagination in the discussion about global justice? What is gained by studying the role of imagination in thinking about global justice? Does a focus on imagination imply that we must replace existing influential principle-centred approaches such as that of John Rawls and his critics? We can distinguish between two approaches to global justice. One approach is Rawlsian and Kantian in inspiration. Discussions within this tradition typically focus on th…Read more
  •  37
    The social ascription of obligations to engineers
    with J. S. Busby
    Science and Engineering Ethics 9 (3): 363-376. 2003.
    Discovering obligations that are ascribed to them by others is potentially an important element in the development of the moral imagination of engineers. Moral imagination cannot reasonably be developed by contemplating oneself and one’s task alone: there must be some element of discovering the expectations of people one could put at risk. In practice it may be impossible to meet ascribed obligations if they are completely general and allow no exceptions — for example if they demand an unlimited…Read more
  •  43
    Contemporary philosophy of technology after the empirical turn has surprisingly little to say on the relation between language and technology. This essay describes this gap, offers a preliminary discussion of how language and technology may be related to show that there is a rich conceptual space to be gained, and begins to explore some ways in which the gap could be bridged by starting from within specific philosophical subfields and traditions. One route starts from philosophy of language (bot…Read more
  •  72
    According to an influential view, empathy has, and should have, a role in ethics, but it is by no means clear what is meant by 'empathy', and why exactly it is supposed to be morally good. Recently, Peter Goldie has challenged that view. He shows how problematic empathy is, and argues that taking an external perspective is morally superior: we should focus on the other, rather than ourselves. But this argument is misguided in several ways. If we consider conversation, there is no need to see an …Read more
  •  108
    Health Care, Capabilities, and AI Assistive Technologies
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (2): 181-190. 2010.
    Scenarios involving the introduction of artificially intelligent (AI) assistive technologies in health care practices raise several ethical issues. In this paper, I discuss four objections to introducing AI assistive technologies in health care practices as replacements of human care. I analyse them as demands for felt care, good care, private care, and real care. I argue that although these objections cannot stand as good reasons for a general and a priori rejection of AI assistive technologie…Read more
  •  81
    Can a technological culture accommodate spiritual experience and spiritual thinking? If so, what kind of spirituality? I explore the relation between technology and spirituality by constructing and discussing several models for spirituality in a technological culture. I show that although gnostic and animistic interpretations and responses to technology are popular challenges to secularization and disenchantment claims, both the Christian tradition and contemporary posthumanist theory provide in…Read more
  •  4
    Enhancement and the vulnerable body
    Lucivero, F., Vedder, A. (Eds.) Beyond Therapy V. Enhancement? 15-26. 2013.
    The volume consists of nine essays distributed in three groups. The first group of essays engages in an exploration and understanding of the philosophical debate on human enhancement by eliciting the philosophical assumptions and metaphors that characterise this literature. In his essay “Enhancement and the Vulnerable Body: Questioning some Philosophical Assumptions” (chapter 1), Mark Coeckelbergh explores the current debate on human enhancement polarized between ‘bioconservatives’ and ‘transhum…Read more
  •  33
    Response to “The Problem of the Question About Animal Ethics” by Michal Piekarski
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (4): 717-721. 2016.
    In this brief article we reply to Michal Piekarski’s response to our article ‘Facing Animals’ published previously in this journal. In our article we criticized the properties approach to defining the moral standing of animals, and in its place proposed a relational and other-oriented concept that is based on a transcendental and phenomenological perspective, mainly inspired by Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida. In this reply we question and problematize Piekarski’s interpretation of our essay and…Read more
  •  43
    Cryptocurrencies as narrative technologies
    with Wessel Reijers
    Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 45 (3): 172-178. 2015.
    Transitions in monetary technologies raise novel ethical and philosophical questions. One prominent transition concerns the introduction of cryptocurrencies, which are digital currencies based on blockchain technology. Bitcoin is an example of a cryptocurrency. In this paper we discuss ethical issues raised by cryptocurrencies by conceptualising them as what we call “narrative technologies”. Drawing on the work of Ricoeur and responding to the work of Searle, we elaborate on the social and lingu…Read more
  •  22
  •  2
    Romanticism and technology are widely assumed to be opposed to each other. Romanticism—understood as a reaction against rationalism and objectivity—is perhaps the last thing users and developers of information and communication technology (ICT) think about when they engage with computer programs and electronic devices. And yet, as Mark Coeckelbergh argues in this book, this way of thinking about technology is itself shaped by romanticism and obscures a better and deeper understanding of our rela…Read more
  •  19
    What does it mean to say that imagination plays a role in moral reasoning, and what are the theoretical and practical implications? Engaging with three traditions in moral theory and confronting them with three contexts of moral practice, this book offers a more comprehensive framework to think about these questions. The author develops an argument about the relation between imagination and principles that moves beyond competition metaphors and center-periphery schemas. He shows that both cooper…Read more
  •  80
    Ethical reflections on military robotics can be enriched by a better understanding of the nature and role of these technologies and by putting robotics into context in various ways. Discussing a range of ethical questions, this paper challenges the prevalent assumptions that military robotics is about military technology as a mere means to an end, about single killer machines, and about “military” developments. It recommends that ethics of robotics attend to how military technology changes our a…Read more
  •  4
    If we want to be autonomous, what do we want? The author shows that contemporary value-neutral and metaphysically economical conceptions of autonomy, such as that of Harry Frankfurt, face a serious problem. Drawing on Plato, Augustine, and Kant, this book provides a sketch of how "ancient" and "modern" can be reconciled to solve it. But at what expense? It turns out that the dominant modern ideal of autonomy cannot do without a costly metaphysics if it is to be coherent.
  •  133
    Drones, information technology, and distance: mapping the moral epistemology of remote fighting (review)
    Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2): 87-98. 2013.
    Ethical reflection on drone fighting suggests that this practice does not only create physical distance, but also moral distance: far removed from one’s opponent, it becomes easier to kill. This paper discusses this thesis, frames it as a moral-epistemological problem, and explores the role of information technology in bridging and creating distance. Inspired by a broad range of conceptual and empirical resources including ethics of robotics, psychology, phenomenology, and media reports, it is f…Read more
  •  64
    Are the robots coming? Is the singularity near? Will we be dominated by technology? The usual response to ethical issues raised by pervasive and ubiquitous technologies assumes a philosophical anthropology centered on existential autonomy and agency, a dualistic ontology separating humans from technology and the natural from the artificial, and a post-monotheistic dualist and creational spirituality. This paper explores an alternative, less modern vision of the “technological” future based on di…Read more
  •  39
    Artificial agents, good care, and modernity
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (4): 265-277. 2015.
    When is it ethically acceptable to use artificial agents in health care? This article articulates some criteria for good care and then discusses whether machines as artificial agents that take over care tasks meet these criteria. Particular attention is paid to intuitions about the meaning of ‘care’, ‘agency’, and ‘taking over’, but also to the care process as a labour process in a modern organizational and financial-economic context. It is argued that while there is in principle no objection to…Read more
  •  357
    Moral appearances: emotions, robots, and human morality (review)
    Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3): 235-241. 2010.
    Can we build ‘moral robots’? If morality depends on emotions, the answer seems negative. Current robots do not meet standard necessary conditions for having emotions: they lack consciousness, mental states, and feelings. Moreover, it is not even clear how we might ever establish whether robots satisfy these conditions. Thus, at most, robots could be programmed to follow rules, but it would seem that such ‘psychopathic’ robots would be dangerous since they would lack full moral agency. However, I…Read more
  •  81
    You, robot: on the linguistic construction of artificial others (review)
    AI and Society 26 (1): 61-69. 2011.
    How can we make sense of the idea of ‘personal’ or ‘social’ relations with robots? Starting from a social and phenomenological approach to human–robot relations, this paper explores how we can better understand and evaluate these relations by attending to the ways our conscious experience of the robot and the human–robot relation is mediated by language. It is argued that our talk about and to robots is not a mere representation of an objective robotic or social-interactive reality, but rather i…Read more