Virtues, robots, and the enactive self
Anco Peeters (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

part of: CFP: 39th Dutch-Flemish Day of Philosophy
February 22, 2020, 9:30am - 11:00am
University of Twente

U Parkhotel
De Veldmaat 8
Enschede 7522 NM

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United States Naval Academy

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Abstract: Recent discussions in the ethics of technology consider the effects that technological artefacts may have on the cultivation of virtue. In social robotics in particular, some have proposed that designing robots to behave virtuously could support human moral flourishing. But accounts of this sort are vulnerable to several critiques regarding both practical wisdom and the prominent influence of situational factors on virtue. In this paper, I respond to such worries by showing how robots may indeed contribute to virtue. I first evaluate a prominent argument that practical wisdom a priori prohibits virtuous interactions with social robots and find it wanting. Then I consider a recent critique from situationists that specifically targets practical wisdom, from which result two potential issues for virtuous robots. I resolve these issues by developing an account of how we can self-program our practical reasoning and by arguing that an enactive account of self best serves recent attempts at extending virtue. The paper concludes with considering the implications of the present investigation on social robots for technological artefacts in general.

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