Is it time for robot rights? Moral status in artificial entities

Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):579–587 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Some authors have recently suggested that it is time to consider rights for robots. These suggestions are based on the claim that the question of robot rights should not depend on a standard set of conditions for ‘moral status’; but instead, the question is to be framed in a new way, by rejecting the is/ought distinction, making a relational turn, or assuming a methodological behaviourism. We try to clarify these suggestions and to show their highly problematic consequences. While we find the suggestions ultimately unmotivated, the discussion shows that our epistemic condition with respect to the moral status of others does raise problems, and that the human tendency to empathise with things that do not have moral status should be taken seriously—we suggest that it produces a “derived moral status”. Finally, it turns out that there is typically no individual in real AI that could even be said to be the bearer of moral status. Overall, there is no reason to think that robot rights are an issue now.

Similar books and articles

When is a robot a moral agent.John P. Sullins - 2006 - International Review of Information Ethics 6 (12):23-30.
On the Moral Equality of Artificial Agents.Christopher Wareham - 2011 - International Journal of Technoethics 2 (1):35-42.
Welcoming Robots into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
The Grounds of Moral Status.Julie Tannenbaum & Agnieszka Jaworska - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:0-0.
On the Notion of Moral Status and Personhood in Biomedical Ethics.Azam Golam - 2010 - The Dhaka Univrsity Studies 67 (1):83-96.
Personhood and Moral Status.Julie Tannenbaum & Agnieszka Jaworska - 2019 - In Antonia LoLordo (ed.), Persons: A History. Oxford University Press. pp. 334-362.
Emerging moral status issues. [REVIEW]Christopher Gyngell & Julian J. Koplin - 2020 - Monash Bioethics Review 38 (2):95-104.
Moral Status, Final Value, and Extrinsic Properties.Nicolas Delon - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (3pt3):371-379.
The status of moral status.Benjamin Sachs - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):87-104.
The Moral Status of Children.Julie Tannenbaum & Agnieszka Jaworska - 2018 - In Anca Gheaus, Gideon Calder & Jurgen De Wispelaere (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children. Routledge Press. pp. 67-78.
Moral Status As a Matter of Degree?David DeGrazia - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):181-198.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-05-17

Downloads
590 (#25,543)

6 months
189 (#10,969)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Vincent C. Müller
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Citations of this work

Will intelligent machines become moral patients?Parisa Moosavi - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
How to deal with risks of AI suffering.Leonard Dung - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Moral Status and Intelligent Robots.John-Stewart Gordon & David J. Gunkel - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (1):88-117.
Understanding Artificial Agency.Leonard Dung - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Superintelligence: paths, dangers, strategies.Nick Bostrom (ed.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
Welcoming Robots into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.

View all 62 references / Add more references