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Ava Thomas Wright
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  1. Kantian Freedom as “Purposiveness”.Ava Thomas Wright - 2022 - Kant Studien 113 (4):640-658.
    Arthur Ripstein’s conception of Kantian freedom has exerted an enormous recent influence on scholars of Kant’s political philosophy; however, the conception seems to me flawed. In this paper, I argue that Ripstein’s conception of Kantian freedom as “your capacity to choose the ends you will use your means to pursue” – your “purposiveness” – is both too narrow and too broad: (1) Wrongful acts such as coercive threats cannot choose my ends for me; instead, such acts wrongfully restrict my perceived (...)
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  2. A Deontic Logic for Programming Rightful Machines: Kant’s Normative Demand for Consistency in the Law.Ava Thomas Wright - 2023 - Logics for Ai and Law: Joint Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Logics for New-Generation Artificial Intelligence (Lingai) and the International Workshop on Logic, Ai and Law (Lail).
    In this paper, I set out some basic elements of a deontic logic with an implementation appropriate for handling conflicting legal obligations for purposes of programming autonomous machine agents. Kantian justice demands that the prescriptive system of enforceable public laws be consistent, yet statutes or case holdings may often describe legal obligations that contradict; moreover, even fundamental constitutional rights may come into conflict. I argue that a deontic logic of the law should not try to work around such conflicts but, (...)
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  3. A Kantian Course Correction for Machine Ethics.Ava Thomas Wright - 2023 - In Jonathan Tsou & Gregory Robson (eds.), Technology Ethics: A Philosophical Introduction and Readings. New York: Routledge. pp. 141-151.
    The central challenge of “machine ethics” is to build autonomous machine agents that act morally rightly. But how can we build autonomous machine agents that act morally rightly, given reasonable disputes over what is right and wrong in particular cases? In this chapter, I argue that Immanuel Kant’s political philosophy can provide an important part of the answer.
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  4. Why Moral Rights of Free Speech for Business Corporations Cannot Be Justified.Ava Thomas Wright - 2021 - Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (1):187-198.
    In this paper, I develop two philosophically suggestive arguments that the late Justice Stevens made in Citizens United against the idea that business corporations have free speech rights. First, (1) while business corporations conceived as real entities are capable of a thin agency conceptually sufficient for moral rights, I argue that they fail to clear important justificatory hurdles imposed by interest or choice theories of rights. Business corporations conceived as real entities lack an interest in their personal security; moreover, they (...)
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  5. 8 Rightful Machines.Ava Thomas Wright - 2022 - In Hyeongjoo Kim & Dieter Schönecker (eds.), Kant and Artificial Intelligence. De Gruyter. pp. 223-238.
    In this paper, I set out a new Kantian approach to resolving conflicts between moral obligations for highly autonomous machine agents. First, I argue that efforts to build explicitly moral autonomous machine agents should focus on what Kant refers to as duties of right, which are duties that everyone could accept, rather than on duties of virtue (or “ethics”), which are subject to dispute in particular cases. “Moral” machines must first be rightful machines, I argue. I then show how this (...)
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    Mill's Social Epistemic Rationale for the Freedom to Dispute Scientific Knowledge: Why We Must Put Up with Flat-Earthers.Ava Thomas Wright - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (14).
    Why must we respect others’ rights to dispute scientific knowledge such as that the Earth is round, or that humans evolved, or that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are warming the Earth? In this paper, I argue that in On Liberty Mill defends the freedom to dispute scientific knowledge by appeal to a novel social epistemic rationale for free speech that has been unduly neglected by Mill scholars. Mill distinguishes two kinds of epistemic warrant for scientific knowledge: 1) the positive, direct evidentiary (...)
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    Two Rationales for the Duty of Veracity in “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy”.Ava Thomas Wright - 2021 - In Camilla Serck-Hanssen & Beatrix Himmelmann (eds.), The Court of Reason: Proceedings of the 13th International Kant Congress. De Gruyter. pp. 1641-1650.
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