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Michael Klenk
Delft University of Technology
  1.  62
    How Do Technological Artefacts Embody Moral Values?Michael Klenk - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34 (3):525-544.
    According to some philosophers of technology, technology embodies moral values in virtue of its functional properties and the intentions of its designers. But this paper shows that such an account makes the values supposedly embedded in technology epistemically opaque and that it does not allow for values to change. Therefore, to overcome these shortcomings, the paper introduces the novel Affordance Account of Value Embedding as a superior alternative. Accordingly, artefacts bear affordances, that is, artefacts make certain actions likelier given the (...)
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  2. (Online) Manipulation: Sometimes Hidden, Always Careless.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - Review of Social Economy.
    Ever-increasing numbers of human interactions with intelligent software agents, online and offline, and their increasing ability to influence humans have prompted a surge in attention toward the concept of (online) manipulation. Several scholars have argued that manipulative influence is always hidden. But manipulation is sometimes overt, and when this is acknowledged the distinction between manipulation and other forms of social influence becomes problematic. Therefore, we need a better conceptualisation of manipulation that allows it to be overt and yet clearly distinct (...)
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  3.  27
    Pistols, pills, pork and ploughs: the structure of technomoral revolutions.Jeroen Hopster, Chirag Arora, Charlie Blunden, Cecilie Eriksen, Lily Frank, Julia Hermann, Michael Klenk, Elizabeth O'Neill & Steffen Steinert - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-33.
    The power of technology to transform religions, science, and political institutions has often been presented as nothing short of revolutionary. Does technology have a similarly transformative influence on societies’ morality? Scholars have not rigorously investigated the role of technology in moral revolutions, even though existing research on technomoral change suggests that this role may be considerable. In this paper, we explore what the role of technology in moral revolutions, understood as processes of radical group-level moral change, amounts to. We do (...)
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  4. The Influence of Situational Factors in Sacrificial Dilemmas on Utilitarian Moral Judgments.Michael Klenk - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (3):593-625.
    The standard way to test alternative descriptive theories of moral judgment is by asking subjects to evaluate (amongst others) sacrificial dilemmas, where acting classifies as a utilitarian moral judgment and not acting classifies as a deontological moral judgment. Previous research uncovered many situational factors that alter subject’s moral judgments without affecting which type of action utilitarianism or deontology would recommend. This literature review provides a systematic analysis of the experimental literature on the influence of situational factors on moral judgments in (...)
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  5. Digital Well-Being and Manipulation Online.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - In Christopher Burr & Luciano Floridi (eds.), Ethics of Digital Well-being: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Springer.
    Social media use is soaring globally. Existing research of its ethical implications predominantly focuses on the relationships amongst human users online, and their effects. The nature of the software-to-human relationship and its impact on digital well-being, however, has not been sufficiently addressed yet. This paper aims to close the gap. I argue that some intelligent software agents, such as newsfeed curator algorithms in social media, manipulate human users because they do not intend their means of influence to reveal the user’s (...)
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  6. Autonomy and Online Manipulation.Michael Klenk & Jeff Hancock - 2019 - Internet Policy Review 1:1-11.
    More and more researchers argue that online technologies manipulate human users and, therefore, undermine their autonomy. We call this the MAL view on online technology because it argues from Manipulation to Autonomy-Loss. MAL enjoys public visibility and will shape the academic discussion to come. This view of online technology, however, fails conceptually. MAL presupposes that manipulation equals autonomy loss, and that autonomy is the absence of manipulation. That is mistaken. In short, an individual can be manipulated while being fully personally (...)
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  7. Moral Philosophy and the ‘Ethical Turn’ in Anthropology.Michael Klenk - 2019 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie (2):1-23.
    Moral philosophy continues to be enriched by an ongoing empirical turn,mainly through contributions from neuroscience, biology, and psychology. Thusfar, cultural anthropology has largely been missing. A recent and rapidly growing‘ethical turn’ within cultural anthropologynow explicitly and systematically studiesmorality. This research report aims to introduce to an audience in moral philosophyseveral notable works within the ethical turn. It does so by critically discussing theethical turn’s contributions to four topics: the definition of morality, the nature ofmoral change and progress, the truth of (...)
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  8.  50
    Recent Work on Moral Revolutions.Michael Klenk, Elizabeth O’Neill, Chirag Arora, Charlie Blunden, Cecilie Eriksen, Lily Frank & Jeroen Hopster - 2022 - Analysis 82 (2):354-366.
    In the last few decades, several philosophers have written on the topic of moral revolutions, distinguishing them from other kinds of society-level moral change. This article surveys recent accounts of moral revolutions in moral philosophy. Different authors use quite different criteria to pick out moral revolutions. Features treated as relevant include radicality, depth or fundamentality, pervasiveness, novelty and particular causes. We also characterize the factors that have been proposed to cause moral revolutions, including anomalies in existing moral codes, changing honour (...)
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  9. Interpersonal Manipulation.Michael Klenk - manuscript
    This article argues that manipulation is negligent influence. Manipulation is negligent in the sense that manipulators do not chose their method of influence because for its potential to reveal reasons to their victims. Thus, manipulation is a lack of care, or negligence, exclusively understood exclusively in terms of how one influences. That makes the proposed account superior to the most influential alternative, which analyses manipulation disjunctively as violation of several distinct types of norms. The implication is a paradigm shift in (...)
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  10.  85
    Manipulation, injustice, and technology.Michael Klenk - 2022 - In Fleur Jongepier & Michael Klenk (eds.), The Philosophy of Online Manipulation. New York: Routledge. pp. 108-131.
    This chapter defends the view that manipulated behaviour is explained by an injustice. Injustices that explain manipulated behaviour need not involve agential features such as intentionality. Therefore, technology can manipulate us, even if technological artefacts like robots, intelligent software agents, or other ‘mere tools’ lack agential features such as intentionality. The chapter thus sketches a comprehensive account of manipulated behaviour related to but distinct from existing accounts of manipulative behaviour. It then builds on that account to defend the possibility that (...)
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  11. Ethics of digital contact tracing and COVID-19: who is (not) free to go?Michael Klenk & Hein Duijf - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (1):69-77.
    Digital tracing technologies are heralded as an effective way of containing SARS-CoV-2 faster than it is spreading, thereby allowing the possibility of easing draconic measures of population-wide quarantine. But existing technological proposals risk addressing the wrong problem. The proper objective is not solely to maximise the ratio of people freed from quarantine but to also ensure that the composition of the freed group is fair. We identify several factors that pose a risk for fair group composition along with an analysis (...)
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  12. Old wine in new bottles: Evolutionary debunking arguments and the Benacerraf–Field challenge.Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):781-795.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to show that robust moral realism, the metaethical view that there are non-natural and mind-independent moral properties and facts that we can know about, is incompatible with evolutionary explanations of morality. One of the most prominent evolutionary debunking arguments is advanced by Sharon Street, who argues that if moral realism were true, then objective moral knowledge is unlikely because realist moral properties are evolutionary irrelevant and moral beliefs about those properties would not be selected for. However, (...)
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  13.  77
    Objectivist conditions for defeat and evolutionary debunking arguments.Michael Klenk - 2019 - Ratio 32 (4):246-259.
    I make a case for distinguishing clearly between subjective and objective accounts of undercutting defeat and for rejecting a hybrid view that takes both subjective and objective elements to be relevant for whether or not a belief is defeated. Moderate subjectivists claim that taking a belief to be defeated is sufficient for the belief to be defeated; subjectivist idealists add that if an idealised agent takes a belief to be defeated then the belief is defeated. Subjectivist idealism evades some of (...)
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  14. Can Moral Realists Deflect Defeat Due to Evolutionary Explanations of Morality?Michael Klenk - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):227-248.
    I address Andrew Moon's recent discussion (2016, this journal) of the question whether third-factor accounts are valid responses to debunking arguments against moral realism. Moon argues that third-factor responses are valid under certain conditions but leaves open whether moral realists can use his interpretation of the third-factor response to defuse the evolutionary debunking challenge. I rebut Moon's claim and answer his question. Moon's third-factor reply is valid only if we accept externalism about epistemic defeaters. However, even if we do, I (...)
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  15.  80
    Third factor explanations and disagreement in metaethics.Michael Klenk - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):427-446.
    Several moral objectivists try to explain the reliability of moral beliefs by appealing to a third factor, a substantive moral claim that explains, first, why we have the moral beliefs that we have and, second, why these beliefs are true. Folke Tersman has recently suggested that moral disagreement constrains the epistemic legitimacy of third-factor explanations. Apart from constraining third-factor explanations, Tersman’s challenge could support the view that the epistemic significance of debunking explanations depends on the epistemic significance of disagreement. This (...)
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  16.  61
    Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology.Michael Klenk (ed.) - 2020 - New York: Routledge.
    This book offers a systematic look at current challenges in moral epistemology through the lens of research on higher-order evidence. Fueled by recent advances in empirical research, higher-order evidence has generated a wealth of insights about the genealogy of moral beliefs. Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology explores how these insights have an impact on the epistemic status of moral beliefs. The essays are divided into four thematic sections. Part I addresses the normative significance of higher-order evidence for moral epistemology. Part (...)
  17.  89
    Moral Judgement and Moral Progress: The Problem of Cognitive Control.Michael Klenk & Hanno Sauer - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 34 (7):938-961.
    We propose a fundamental challenge to the feasibility of moral progress: most extant theories of progress, we will argue, assume an unrealistic level of cognitive control people must have over their moral judgments for moral progress to occur. Moral progress depends at least in part on the possibility of individual people improving their moral cognition to eliminate the pernicious influence of various epistemically defective biases and other distorting factors. Since the degree of control people can exert over their moral cognition (...)
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  18.  46
    Survival of Defeat - Evolution, Moral Objectivity, and Undercutting.Michael Klenk - 2018 - Dissertation, Utrecht University
    Evidence from biology and psychology suggests that our moral views depend on our evolutionary history. For example, if we humans would have evolved to live like hive bees, we would probably think very differently about moral questions such as whether we have a duty to care for our children. The findings from biology and psychology threaten to ‘debunk’ the justification of judgements about objective moral truths. Objective moral truths are always the same and they do not vary with our contingent (...)
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  19. Change in Moral View: Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology.Michael Klenk - forthcoming - In Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. New York, NY: Routledge.
    Most epistemologists maintain that we are rationally required to believe what our evidence supports. Generally speaking, any factor that makes it more probable that a given state of affairs obtains (or does not obtain) is evidence (for that state of affairs). In line with this view, many metaethicists believe that we are rationally required to believe what’s morally right and wrong based on what our moral evidence (e.g. our moral intuitions, along with descriptive information about the world) supports. However, sometimes (...)
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  20.  48
    Evolution and Moral Disagreement.Michael Klenk - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 14 (2).
    Several philosophers have recently argued that evolutionary considerations undermine the justification of all objectivist moral beliefs by implying a hypothetical disagreement: had our evolutionary history been different, our moral beliefs would conflict with the moral beliefs of our counterfactual selves. This paper aims at showing that evolutionary considerations do not imply epistemically relevant moral disagreement. In nearby scenarios, evolutionary considerations imply tremendous moral agreement. In remote scenarios, evolutionary considerations do not entail relevant disagreement with our epistemic peers, neither on a (...)
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  21. Evolutionary Ethics.Michael Klenk - 2019 - Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics.
    This chapter first introduces naturalistic approaches to ethics more generally and distinguishes methodological ethical naturalism (the focus of this chapter), from metaphysical ethical naturalism. The second part then discusses evolutionary ethics as a specific variant of methodological ethical naturalism. After introducing the concepts of evolutionary theory that are relevant for evolutionary ethics, I will sketch the history of evolutionary ethics, which offers an interesting lesson about why it became a controversial topic, and then focus on four central questions about ethics (...)
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  22. Prometheus' Legacy: Responsibility and Technology.Michael Klenk & Martin Sand - 2020 - In Birgit Recki (ed.), Welche Technik? Dresden: Text & Dialog. pp. 23-40.
    A prominent view in contemporary philosophy of technology suggests that more technology implies more possibilities and, therefore, more responsibilities. Consequently, the question ‘What technology?’ is discussed primarily on the backdrop of assessing, assigning, and avoiding technology-borne culpability. The view is reminiscent of the Olympian gods’ vengeful and harsh reaction to Prometheus’ play with fire. However, the Olympian view leaves unexplained how technologies increase possibilities. Also, if Olympians are right, endorsing their view will at some point demand putting a halt to (...)
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  23.  21
    Charting Moral Psychology’s Significance for Bioethics: Routes to Bioethical Progress, its Limits, and Lessons from Moral Philosophy.Michael Klenk - 2020 - Diametros 17 (64):36-55.
    Empirical moral psychology is sometimes dismissed as normatively insignificant because it plays no decisive role in settling ethical disputes. But that conclusion, even if it is valid for normative ethics, does not extend to bioethics. First, in contrast to normative ethics, bioethics can legitimately proceed from a presupposed moral framework. Within that framework, moral psychology can be shown to play four significant roles: it can improve bioethicists’ understanding of the decision situation, the origin and legitimacy of their moral concepts, efficient (...)
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  24. Debunking, Epistemic Achievement, and Undermining Defeat.Michael Klenk - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (1):43-60.
    Several anti-debunkers have argued that evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs fail to meet a necessary condition on undermining defeat called modal security. They conclude that evolution, therefore, does not debunk our moral beliefs. This article shows that modal security is false if knowledge is virtuous achievement. New information can undermine a given belief without providing reason to doubt that that belief is sensitive or safe. This leads to a novel conception of undermining defeat, and it shows that successful debunking (...)
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  25. Moral Luck and Unfair Blame.Martin Sand & Michael Klenk - 2021 - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-17.
    Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control affect her blameworthiness. Several scholars deny the existence of moral luck by distinguishing judging blameworthy from blame-related practices. Luck does not affect an agent’s blameworthiness because morality is conceptually fair, but it can affect the appropriate degree of blame for that agent. While separatism resolves the paradox of moral luck, we aim to show it that it needs amendment, because it is unfair to treat two equally blameworthy people unequally. We argue (...)
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  26. Hanno Sauer, Debunking Arguments in Ethics , pp. xi + 244. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2019 - Utilitas 8 (4):1-5.
  27. Why Metaethics Needs Empirical Moral Psychology.Jeroen Hopster & Michael Klenk - 2020 - Critica 52 (155).
    What is the significance of empirical moral psychology for metaethics? In this article we take up Michael Ruse’s evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism and reassess it in the context of the empirical state of the art. Ruse’s argument depends on the phenomenological presumption that people generally experience morality as objective. We demonstrate how recent experimental findings challenge this widely-shared armchair presumption and conclude that Ruse’s argument fails. We situate this finding in the recent debate about Carnapian explication and argue (...)
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  28.  92
    Omnivores and Synthesisers: Academic Philosophers as Interdisciplinary Specialists.Michael Klenk - 2020 - In Julia Simone Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Wouter Kalf & Michael Klenk (eds.), Philosophy in the Age of Science? Inquiries Into Philosophical Progress, Method, and Societal Relevance. Fordham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 173-194.
    I stipulate that an academic discipline is societally relevant insofar as it helps to resolve a society’s real problems. What makes such a view correct depends on meta-normative views. I show how one’s meta-normative view significantly determines the likelihood that disciplinary philosophy is of societal relevance. On normative non-naturalism, normative naturalism, and normative scepticism, the societal relevance of philosophy is in doubt. I then argue that philosophers should aim for two remedies. They should be what I call omnivores and 'synthesisers, (...)
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  29.  10
    Pragmatism and Moral Objectivity.Michael Klenk - 2021 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 13 (2).
    Most non-robust-realist metaethical theories, such as expressivism, constructivism, and non-robust forms of realism, claim to retain a sense of objectivity in ethics. A persistent issue for these theories is to identify an objective criterion for moral truth that meets their objectivist aspiration. Objectivist aspirations are often probed by confronting non-realists with abject normative positions, such as those of rational racists, which are licensed by the framework of the respective non-realist theory but nevertheless strike us a wrong. In such cases, non-realist (...)
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  30. Measuring Moral Development.Michael Klenk - 2017 - de Filosoof 75:21-23.
    In the aftermath of the financial crisis, heightened awareness of ethical issues has sparked increased efforts toward moral education within universities and businesses. In many cases, psychological tests are used to measure whether moral development occurs. As long as we understand moral development as synonymous with moral progress, this may seem like a good sign: it would appear that such tests give us a handle on moral progress. Alas, moral development and moral progress are two very different things. And although (...)
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  31. Review of Richard Joyce's Essays in Moral Skepticism. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Perspectives 24 (1):158-162.
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  32. Review - Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2019 - Metapsychology 23 (24).
  33. Terence Cuneo. Speech and Morality. On the Metaethical Implications of Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (2):345-350.
  34.  51
    Thomas Pölzler, Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 11 (1):78-86.
    Thomas Pölzler’s book offers the first detailed study that focuses explicitly on the promise of science-based arguments for and against moral realism (of both the natural and non-natural kind). His two central claims are that sound arguments bearing on the realism/anti-realism debate are possible, and, yet, that four central attempts to derive metaethical conclusions from science-based arguments uniformly fail. The book then provides several recommendations for future science-based contributions to the realism/anti-realism debate to do better. The book is a valuable (...)
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  35.  31
    COVID-19, uncertainty, and moral experiments.Ibo Van de Poel & Michael Klenk - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-5.
    Pandemics like COVID-19 confront us with decisions about life and death that come with great uncertainty, factual as well as moral. How should policy makers deal with such uncertainty? We suggest that rather than to deliberate until they have found the right course of action, they better do moral experiments that generate relevant experiences to enable more reliable moral evaluations and rational decisions.
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  36.  31
    Review of The Social Psychology of Morality. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2016 - Metapsychology Online 20 (48):1-8.
    If you put chimpanzees from different communities together you can expect mayhem - they are not keen on treating each other nicely. There is closely related species of apes, however, whose members have countless encounters with unrelated specimen on a daily basis and yet almost all get through the day in one piece - that species is us, homo sapiens. But what makes us get along, most of the time? Morality as such is, perhaps surprisingly, not a mainstream research topic (...)
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  37.  49
    Philosophy in the Age of Science? Inquiries into Philosophical Progess, Method, and Societal Relevance.Julia Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Wouter Kalf & Michael Klenk (eds.) - 2020 - Fordham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
    Current academic philosophy is being challenged from several angles. Subdisciplinary specialisations often make it challenging to articulate philosophy’s relevance for the societal questions of our day. Additionally, the success of the ‘scientific method’ puts pressure on philosophers to articulate their methods and specify how these can be successful. How does philosophical progress come about? What can philosophy contribute to our understanding of today’s world? Moreover, can it also contribute to resolving urgent societal challenges, such as anthropogenic climate change? This edited (...)
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  38. The Philosophy of Online Manipulation.Michael Klenk & Fleur Jongepier (eds.) - 2022 - Routledge.
    Are we being manipulated online? If so, is being manipulated by online technologies and algorithmic systems notably different from human forms of manipulation? And what is under threat exactly when people are manipulated online? This volume provides philosophical and conceptual depth to debates in digital ethics about online manipulation. The contributions explore the ramifications of our increasingly consequential interactions with online technologies such as online recommender systems, social media, user-friendly design, micro-targeting, default-settings, gamification, and real-time profiling. The authors in this (...)
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  39. Management in a Liquid Modern World. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (2):345-349.
     
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  40.  26
    Eric Wielenberg, Robust Ethics. The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, 196 pp., £35 , ISBN 9780198714323. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):482-488.