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Do Artifacts Have Morality?

Do Artifacts Have Morality?

Chapter:
(p.41) 3 Do Artifacts Have Morality?
Source:
Moralizing Technology
Author(s):
Peter-Paul Verbeek
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226852904.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the question of how to account for the moral role of technology in ethical theory. Qualifying as a moral agent requires at least the possession of intentionality and some degree of freedom. With respect to artifacts, it is argued here that both requirements are problematic. Utilizing the amodern approach, the concept of agency—including its aspects of intentionality and freedom—can be reinterpreted in a direction that makes it possible to investigate the moral relevance of technological artifacts in ethical theory. This chapter first discusses the most prominent existing accounts of the moral significance of technological artifacts. Later sections then develop a new account in which the chapter expands the concept of moral agency in such a way that it can do justice to the active role of technologies in moral actions and decisions.

Keywords:   moral role, ethical theory, moral agent, intentionality, freedom, amodern approach, technological artifacts, moral actions

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