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Alexis Elder [19]Alexis M. Elder [3]
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Alexis Elder
University of Minnesota, Duluth
  1. Excellent online friendships: an Aristotelian defense of social media.Alexis Elder - 2014 - Ethics and Information Technology 16 (4):287-297.
    I defend social media’s potential to support Aristotelian virtue friendship against a variety of objections. I begin with Aristotle’s claim that the foundation of the best friendships is a shared life. Friends share the distinctively human and valuable components of their lives, especially reasoning together by sharing conversation and thoughts, and communal engagement in valued activities. Although some have charged that shared living is not possible between friends who interact through digital social media, I argue that social media preserves the (...)
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  2.  23
    Friendship, Robots, and Social Media: False Friends and Second Selves.Alexis M. Elder - 2017 - Routledge.
    Various emerging technologies, from social robotics to social media, appeal to our desire for social interactions, while avoiding some of the risks and costs of face-to-face human interaction. But can they offer us real friendship? In this book, Alexis Elder outlines a theory of friendship drawing on Aristotle and contemporary work on social ontology, and then uses it to evaluate the real value of social robotics and emerging social technologies. In the first part of the book Elder develops a robust (...)
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  3. Conversation from Beyond the Grave? A Neo‐Confucian Ethics of Chatbots of the Dead.Alexis Elder - 2020 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (1):73-88.
    Digital records, from chat transcripts to social media posts, are being used to create chatbots that recreate the conversational style of deceased individuals. Some maintain that this is merely a new form of digital memorial, while others argue that they pose a variety of moral hazards. To resolve this, I turn to classical Chinese philosophy to make use of a debate over the ethics of funerals and mourning. This ancient argument includes much of interest for the contemporary issue at hand, (...)
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  4. Why Bad People Can't be Good Friends.Alexis Elder - 2013 - Ratio 27 (1):84-99.
    Must the best friends necessarily be good people? On the one hand, as Aristotle puts it, ‘people think that the same people are good and also friends’. But on the other hand, friendship sometimes seems to require that one behave badly. For example, a normally honest person might lie to corroborate a friend's story. What I will call closeness, which I take to include sensitivity to friends' subjective values and concerns as well as an inclination to take their subjective interests (...)
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  5. Robot Friends for Autistic Children: Monopoly Money or Counterfeit Currency?Alexis Elder - 2017 - In Patrick Lin, Keith Abney & Ryan Jenkins (eds.), Robot Ethics 2.0: From Autonomous Cars to Artificial Intelligence. Oxford University Press. pp. 113-126.
  6. Robots, Rebukes, and Relationships: Confucian Ethics and the Study of Human-Robot Interactions.Alexis Elder - 2023 - Res Philosophica 100 (1):43-62.
    The status and functioning of shame is contested in moral psychology. In much of anglophone philosophy and psychology, it is presumed to be largely destructive, while in Confucian philosophy and many East Asian communities, it is positively associated with moral development. Recent work in human-robot interaction offers a unique opportunity to investigate how shame functions while controlling for confounding variables of interpersonal interaction. One research program suggests a Confucian strategy for using robots to rebuke participants, but results from experiments with (...)
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  7. What Confucian Ethics Can Teach Us About Designing Caregiving Robots for Geriatric Patients.Alexis Elder - 2023 - Digital Society 2 (1).
    Caregiving robots are often lauded for their potential to assist with geriatric care. While seniors can be wise and mature, possessing valuable life experience, they can also present a variety of ethical challenges, from prevalence of racism and sexism, to troubled relationships, histories of abusive behavior, and aggression, mood swings and impulsive behavior associated with cognitive decline. I draw on Confucian ethics, especially the concept of filial piety, to address these issues. Confucian scholars have developed a rich set of theoretical (...)
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  8.  26
    What Words Can’t Say.Alexis M. Elder - 2018 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 16 (1):2-15.
    Purpose This paper aims to survey the moral psychology of emoji, time-restricted messaging and other non-verbal elements of nominally textual computer-mediated communication. These features are increasingly common in interpersonal communication. Effects on both individual well-being and quality of intimate relationships are assessed. Results of this assessment are used to support ethical conclusions about these elements of digital communication. Design/methodology/approach Assessment of these non-verbal elements of CMC is framed in light of relevant literature from a variety of fields, including neuroscience, behavioral (...)
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  9. Proprioception, Anosognosia, and the Richness of Conscious Experience.Alexis Elder - 2013 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (3-4):3-4.
    Proprioception, a sense of bodily position and movement, is rarely the focus of conscious experience. If we are ordinarily conscious of proprioception, we seem only peripherally so. Thus, evidence that proprioception is present in the periphery of at least some conscious experiences seems to be good evidence that conscious experience is fairly rich. Anosognosia for paralysis is a denial of paralysis of one's limbs, usually in the wake of brain damage from stroke. Because anosognosic patients overlook their paralysis, anosognosia seems (...)
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  10. Siri, Stereotypes, and the Mechanics of Sexism.Alexis Elder - 2022 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 8 (3).
    Feminized AIs designed for in-home verbal assistance are often subjected to gendered verbal abuse by their users. I survey a variety of features contributing to this phenomenon—from financial incentives for businesses to build products likely to provoke gendered abuse, to the impact of such behavior on household members—and identify a potential worry for attempts to criticize the phenomenon; while critics may be tempted to argue that engaging in gendered abuse of AI increases the chances that one will direct this abuse (...)
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  11. Zhuangzi on Friendship and Death.Alexis Elder - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (4):575-592.
    Zhuangzi suggests that death is a transformation that we commonly and mistakenly think means the end of someone but really just marks a new phase of existence. This metaphysical thesis is presented at several points in the text as an explanation of distinctively Daoist responses to death and loss. Some take a Daoist response to death, as presented by Zhuangzi, to indicate dual perspectives on friendship and death. But I argue that the metaphysical view sketched above is consistent with a (...)
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  12.  80
    ’How could you even ask that?’ Moral considerability, uncertainty and vulnerability in social robotics.Alexis Elder - 2020 - Journal of Sociotechnical Critique 1 (1):1-23.
    When it comes to social robotics (robots that engage human social responses via “eyes” and other facial features, voice-based natural-language interactions, and even evocative movements), ethicists, particularly in European and North American traditions, are divided over whether and why they might be morally considerable. Some argue that moral considerability is based on internal psychological states like consciousness and sentience, and debate about thresholds of such features sufficient for ethical consideration, a move sometimes criticized for being overly dualistic in its framing (...)
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  13. The interpersonal is political: unfriending to promote civic discourse on social media.Alexis Elder - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 22 (1):15-24.
    Despite the initial promise of social media platforms as a means of facilitating discourse on matters of civic discourse, in practice it has turned out to impair fruitful conversation on civic issues by a number of means. From self-isolation into echo chambers, to algorithmically supported filter bubbles, to widespread failure to engage politically owing to psychological phenomena like the ‘spiral of silence’, a variety of factors have been blamed. I argue that extant accounts overlook the importance of interpersonal relationships to (...)
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  14.  8
    Robots, Rebukes, and Relationships.Alexis Elder - 2023 - Res Philosophica 100 (1):43-62.
    The status and functioning of shame is contested in moral psychology. In much of anglophone philosophy and psychology, it is presumed to be largely destructive, while in Confucian philosophy and many East Asian communities, it is positively associated with moral development. Recent work in human-robot interaction offers a unique opportunity to investigate how shame functions while controlling for confounding variables of interpersonal interaction. One research program suggests a Confucian strategy for using robots to rebuke participants, but results from experiments with (...)
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  15. Forgiveness and Friendship.Alexis Elder - 2016 - In Forgiveness and Philosophy - Volume 1: Explorations of Forgiveness: Personal, Relational, and Religious. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press. pp. 17-38.
     
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  16. Friendship and Social Media.Alexis Elder - 2022 - In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Friendship. New York City: Routledge. pp. 358-370.
    Evaluations of social media’s impact on friendship have often focused on risks and drawbacks. In this chapter, both empirical and philosophical resources are surveyed and a more nuanced conclusion is defended. While social media platforms and users are too diverse to support simplistic conclusions, investigating the details of shared activity and influence on character in the context of social media interactions, we can find evidence of genuine benefits as well as hazards, and the evolving and emerging details of social media (...)
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  17. False Friends and False Coinage: A tool for navigating the ethics of sociable robots.Alexis Elder - 2015 - Computers and Society (Acm Sigcas Newsletter) 45 (3):248-254.
  18. Figuring Out Who Your Real Friends Are.Alexis Elder - 2017 - In Mark Silcox (ed.), Experience Machines: The Philosophy of Virtual Worlds. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 87-98.
  19.  6
    Guest editorial.Marty J. Wolf, Alexis M. Elder & Gosia Plotka - 2019 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 17 (2):114-118.
    “Congealing” is a word that evokes senses of unpleasantness where perhaps something inviting had once been. It also implies that things are becoming less fluid and more rigid. As we began organizing ETHICOMP 2018, we wanted a theme that reflected the impact of technologies on human cultures, practices and lives. Our initial draft of the theme was “Creating, Changing, and Congealing Ways of Life with Technologies.” And while we were eventually persuaded to use a more congenial way of putting the (...)
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  20.  12
    Living with Robots. [REVIEW]Alexis Elder - 2019 - The Philosophers' Magazine 86:115-117.
  21.  26
    Digital Souls: A Philosophy of Online Death. [REVIEW]Alexis Elder - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    In Digital Souls, Patrick Stokes brings together a thoughtful account of personal identity and death with a range of examples from literature and real life, to help us think about the dead online....
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