•  971
    Just war and robots’ killings
    Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263): 302-22. 2016.
    May lethal autonomous weapons systems—‘killer robots ’—be used in war? The majority of writers argue against their use, and those who have argued in favour have done so on a consequentialist basis. We defend the moral permissibility of killer robots, but on the basis of the non-aggregative structure of right assumed by Just War theory. This is necessary because the most important argument against killer robots, the responsibility trilemma proposed by Rob Sparrow, makes the same assumptions. We s…Read more
  •  472
    Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems are here. Technological development will see them become widespread in the near future. This is in a matter of years rather than decades. When the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons meets on 10-14th November 2014, well-considered guidance for a decision on the general policy direction for LAWS is clearly needed. While there is widespread opposition to LAWS—or ‘killer robots’, as they are popularly called—and a growing campaign advocates banning them ou…Read more
  •  266
    This is the short version, in French translation by Anne Querrien, of the originally jointly authored paper: Müller, Vincent C., ‘Autonomous killer robots are probably good news’, in Ezio Di Nucci and Filippo Santoni de Sio, Drones and responsibility: Legal, philosophical and socio-technical perspectives on the use of remotely controlled weapons. - - - L’article qui suit présente un nouveau système d’armes fondé sur des robots qui risque d’être prochainement utilisé. À la différence des drones q…Read more
  •  160
    Evaluating Google as an Epistemic Tool
    Metaphilosophy 43 (4): 426-445. 2012.
    This article develops a social epistemological analysis of Web-based search engines, addressing the following questions. First, what epistemic functions do search engines perform? Second, what dimensions of assessment are appropriate for the epistemic evaluation of search engines? Third, how well do current search engines perform on these? The article explains why they fulfil the role of a surrogate expert, and proposes three ways of assessing their utility as an epistemic tool—timeliness, autho…Read more
  •  147
    What Is Trust?
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (4): 550-569. 2012.
    Trust is difficult to define. Instead of doing so, I propose that the best way to understand the concept is through a genealogical account. I show how a root notion of trust arises out of some basic features of what it is for humans to live socially, in which we rely on others to act cooperatively. I explore how this concept acquires resonances of hope and threat, and how we analogically apply this in related but different contexts. The genealogical account explains both why the notion has such …Read more
  •  90
    Trustworthiness and Moral Character
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3): 543-557. 2013.
    Why are people trustworthy? I argue for two theses. First, we cannot explain many socially important forms of trustworthiness solely in terms of the instrumentally rational seeking of one’s interests, in response to external sanctions or rewards. A richer psychology is required. So, second, possession of moral character is a plausible explanation of some socially important instances when people are trustworthy. I defend this conclusion against the influential account of trust as ‘encapsulated in…Read more
  •  84
  •  59
    Robots, Trust and War
    Philosophy and Technology 24 (3): 325-337. 2011.
    Putting robots on the battlefield is clearly appealing for policymakers. Why risk human lives, when robots could take our place, and do the dirty work of killing and dying for us? Against this, I argue that robots will be unable to win the kind of wars that we are increasingly drawn into. Modern warfare tends towards asymmetric conflict. Asymmetric warfare cannot be won without gaining the trust of the civilian population; this is ‘the hearts and minds’, in the hackneyed phrase from counter-insu…Read more
  •  49
    Trust, Belief, and the Second-Personal
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3): 447-459. 2018.
    Cognitivism about trust says that it requires belief that the trusted is trustworthy; non-cognitivism denies this. At stake is how to make sense of the strong but competing intuitions that trust is an attitude that is evaluable both morally and rationally. In proposing that one's respect for another's agency may ground one's trusting beliefs, second-personal accounts provide a way to endorse both intuitions. They focus attention on the way that, in normal situations, it is the person whom I trus…Read more
  •  47
    E-Trust and reputation
    Ethics and Information Technology 13 (1): 29-38. 2011.
    Trust online can be a hazardous affair; many are trustworthy, but some people use the anonymity of the web to behave very badly indeed. So how can we improve the quality of evidence for trustworthiness provided online? I focus on one of the devices we use to secure others’ trustworthiness: tracking past conduct through online reputation systems. Yet existing reputation systems face problems. I analyse these, and in the light of this develop some principles for system design, towards overcoming t…Read more
  •  43
    Testimony and sincerity
    Ratio 25 (1): 79-92. 2012.
    Is there a justified presumption that a speaker is testifying sincerely? Anti-reductionism about testimony claims that there is, absent reasons to the contrary. Yet why believe this, given the actuality and prevalence of lies and deception? I examine one argument that may be appropriated to meet this challenge, David Lewis's claim that truthfulness is a convention. I argue that it fails, and that the supposition that there is a presumption of sincerity remains unsupported. The failure of Lewis's…Read more
  •  30
    Freedom and Trust: A Rejoinder to Lovett and Pettit
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (4): 412-424. 2019.
    Philosophy &Public Affairs, Volume 47, Issue 4, Page 412-424, Fall 2019.
  •  17
    Telepresence and Trust: a Speech-Act Theory of Mediated Communication
    Philosophy and Technology 30 (4): 443-459. 2017.
    Trust is central to our social lives in both epistemic and practical ways. Often, it is rational only given evidence for trustworthiness, and with that evidence is made available by communication. New technologies are changing our practices of communication, enabling increasing rich and diverse ways of ‘being there’, but at a distance. This paper asks: how does telepresent communication support evidence-constrained trust? In answering it, I reply to the leading pessimists about the possibility o…Read more
  •  16
    Did Marine A Do Wrong? On Biggar’s Lethal Intentions
    Studies in Christian Ethics 28 (3): 287-291. 2015.
    On patrol in Afghanistan, Sgt Blackman—referred to as ‘Marine A’ at the subsequent trial—pulled a wounded Taliban fighter out of view and shot him at close range. He was subsequently convicted for murder. I argue that, given premises endorsed in In Defence of War, Nigel Biggar is committed to the justifiability of that battlefield killing
  •  3
    The Morality of Defensive War (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260): 590-593. 2015.
  •  2
    The Philosophy of Trust (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
  • During the second half of the nineteenth century, land frontiers became areas of unique significance for surveyors in colonial India. These regions were understood to provide the most stringent tests for the men, instruments, and techniques that collectively constituted spatial data and representations. In many instances, however, the severity of the challenges that India’s frontiers afforded stretched practices in the field and in the survey office beyond breaking point. Far from producing supp…Read more