MOST RECENT PAPERS

THE FICTIONAL DUALISM MODEL OF SOCIAL ROBOTS

Under review (contact me for a copy)

In this paper I propose a Fictional Dualism model of social robots that competes with the popular domesticated animal model. I show that those who point to our emotional attachment to social robots in order to argue in favour of extending rights to them rely on an assumption that has neither been made explicit nor defended. They assume that our emotional attachment to social robots has moral significance. This implicit assumption does not hold up under scrutiny. The assumption has drawn background support from an analogy between social robots and domesticated animals. I present an alternative model of social robots, the metaphysical model of Fictional Dualism. This model provides us with an explanation of our emotional attachment to social robots, whilst also clarifying the significance of that attachment. The positive framework of Fictional Dualism provides us with an understanding of what social robots are and with a plausible basis for our relationships with them, as we bring them further into society. Finally, I note that the granting of rights to social robots would significantly reduce their usefulness and, as such, should not be entered into unnecessarily.

TRUST, BETRAYAL AND ARTIFICIAL AGENTS

Under review (contact me for a copy)

I argue that theories that are rooted in the possibility of betrayal are problematic for a number of reasons. First of all, the motivation for such theories, the apparent feeling of betrayal when a trusted person does not behave in the way we expected, is not well evidenced. Furthermore, accommodating betrayal limits the number of apparent trust cases that can be considered as trust. In addition, such theories place what I judge to be an unrealistic expectation on the trusted agent. But the really troublesome factor, and the one which is of greatest importance to the future wellbeing of humans, is that views of trust that are rooted in accommodating betrayal exclude the possibility of our trusting artificial agents. As we increasingly depend on artificial agents in many spheres of our lives, and as artificial agents develop as autonomous entities, the need for an inclusive theory of trust becomes more urgent.  trust. In addition, such theories place what I judge to be an unrealistic expectation on the trusted agent. But the really troublesome factor, and the one which is of greatest importance to the future wellbeing of humans, is that views of trust that are rooted in accommodating betrayal exclude the possibility of our trusting artificial agents. As we increasingly depend on artificial agents in many spheres of our lives, and as artificial agents develop as autonomous entities, the need for an inclusive theory of trust becomes more urgent.

SOCIAL ROBOTS AND THEIR IMPACT ON ETHICAL SOCIETY

In draft (contact me for a copy)

There is growing evidence for the fact that we react differently to robots than we do to other objects. In particular, we react differently to robots with which we have some form of social interaction. In this paper I critically engage with the claim, most prominently defended by Kate Darling (2016) that due to our tendency to become emotionally attached to social robots permitting their harm may be damaging for society and, as such, we should consider introducing legislation to grant social robots rights and protect them from harm.

NOSTALGIA RECONSIDERED

Forthcoming, Ratio

Nostalgia is standardly assumed to be directed towards the past, to involve some salient feeling of the irretrievability of the past, and to be directed towards the memory of an event. In this paper I argue that none of these standard assumptions hold. I use a time-traveller example to demonstrate that nostalgia is not essentially past-directed. Once nostalgia is prised from the objective past, we can examine the other purported conditions, making space for the conclusion that the felt irretrievability of the past is not the necessary feature of nostalgia that we assumed it to be. I then argue that the notion that nostalgia is directed towards the memory of an event is misguided. Finally, I distinguish two routes to nostalgia and, with this distinction in place, argue that nostalgia is neither essentially time nor place directed. Nostalgia is simply change-directed.

 
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