Special Issue "Philosophy and the Ethics of Technology"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 July 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Joseph C. Pitt
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, Virginia Tech, 220 Stanger Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061- USA
Interests: Engineering and Philosophy; Impact of technological innovation on scientific change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For much of the first three quarters of the 20th century, philosophical reflection on technology was concerned with the negative effects of specific technologies and Technology in general. But times have changed and more recently the Philosophy of Technology has become more sophisticated, looking at, for example, issues of design, engineering education and more. It seems appropriate to reconsider the ethics of technology from a philosophical perspective. A simple way to conceive of the project is to start with the observation “Yes, we can build it, but should we?” This requires some agreement on how to decide this issue. Consider the case of the coal powered electric generating plants in the face of global warming. A second consideration we are interested in is how do new technologies affect the way we live our lives. The obvious example here is the cell phone. But there are others and we welcome new thoughts and philosophical approaches to this general issue of the ethics of technology.

Prof. Dr. Joseph C. Pitt
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Philosophies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Moral Imperatives
  • technological transformations
  • ethical impact

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Rituals and Machines: A Confucian Response to Technology-Driven Moral Deskilling
Philosophies 2019, 4(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4040059 - 20 Nov 2019
Abstract
Robots and other smart machines are increasingly interwoven into the social fabric of our society, with the area and scope of their application continuing to expand. As we become accustomed to interacting through and with robots, we also begin to supplement or replace [...] Read more.
Robots and other smart machines are increasingly interwoven into the social fabric of our society, with the area and scope of their application continuing to expand. As we become accustomed to interacting through and with robots, we also begin to supplement or replace existing human–human interactions with human–machine interactions. This article aims to discuss the impacts of the shift from human–human interactions to human–machine interactions in one facet of our self-constitution, i.e., morality. More specifically, it sets out to explore whether and how the shift to human–machine interactions can affect our moral cultivation. I shall structure the article around what Shannon Vallor calls technology-driven moral deskilling, i.e., the phenomenon of technology negatively affecting individual moral cultivation, and shall also attempt to offer a Confucian response to the problem. I first elaborate in detail Vallor’s idea of technology-driven moral deskilling. Next, I discuss three paradigms of virtue acquisition identified by Nancy E. Snow, i.e., the “folk” paradigm, the skill-and-expertise paradigm, and the Confucian paradigm, and show how the Confucian paradigm can help us to respond to technology-driven moral deskilling. Finally, I introduce the idea of Confucian rituals (li) and argue for the ritualizing of machines as an answer to technology-driven moral deskilling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy and the Ethics of Technology)
Open AccessArticle
Responsibility and Robot Ethics: A Critical Overview
Philosophies 2019, 4(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4040058 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
This paper has three concerns: first, it represents an etymological and genealogical study of the phenomenon of responsibility. Secondly, it gives an overview of the three fields of robot ethics as a philosophical discipline and discusses the fundamental questions that arise within these [...] Read more.
This paper has three concerns: first, it represents an etymological and genealogical study of the phenomenon of responsibility. Secondly, it gives an overview of the three fields of robot ethics as a philosophical discipline and discusses the fundamental questions that arise within these three fields. Thirdly, it will be explained how in these three fields of robot ethics is spoken about responsibility and how responsibility is attributed in general. As a philosophical paper, it presents a theoretical approach and no practical suggestions are made as to which robots should bear responsibility under which circumstances or how guidelines should be formulated in which a responsible use of robots is outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy and the Ethics of Technology)
Open AccessArticle
Should Parents Design Their Children’s Genome: Some General Arguments and a Confucian Solution
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030043 - 30 Jul 2019
Abstract
With the emergence of clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) as one of the most promising new gene-editing techniques, scientists are now endeavoring to apply it to various domains. Among all the possible applications, gene editing in human embryos [...] Read more.
With the emergence of clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) as one of the most promising new gene-editing techniques, scientists are now endeavoring to apply it to various domains. Among all the possible applications, gene editing in human embryos has received the most attention. Against this background, this article carries out a philosophical study on the ethical problems of human embryo gene editing or designing. Arguments against human embryo gene designing include that parents should be prohibited from deciding their children’s future; commodifying children should be prohibited; the natural reproductive process should not be disturbed; and human embryo gene designing might foster discrimination. Arguments for human embryo gene designing include that parents should have the freedom to design their own babies and this freedom should not be limited; designing babies can promote the happy life of the baby; and totally forbidding embryo gene editing would drive the practice underground, where it would be performed illegally. This article analyzes all of these arguments and points out that all of them have some flaws. In order to draw a thoughtful conclusion, we turn to Confucianism and find a new perspective to determine whether designing babies with CRISPR technology is ethically permissible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy and the Ethics of Technology)
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