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Mark Coeckelbergh

Abstract

This paper tries to understand the phenomenon that humans are able to empathize with robots and the intuition that there might be something wrong with “abusing” robots by discussing the question regarding the moral standing of robots. After a review of some relevant work in empirical psychology and a discussion of the ethics of empathizing with robots, a philosophical argument concerning the moral standing of robots is made that questions distant and uncritical moral reasoning about entities’ properties and that recommends first trying to understand the issue by means of philosophical and artistic work that shows how ethics is always relational and historical, and that highlights the importance of language and appearance in moral reasoning and moral psychology. It is concluded that attention to relationality and to verbal and non-verbal languages of suffering is key to understand the phenomenon under investigation, and that in robot ethics we need less certainty and more caution and patience when it comes to thinking about moral standing.

Open access

Reinhard Kahle and Isabel Oitavem

Abstract

In 2000, a draft note of David Hilbert was found in his Nachlass concerning a 24th problem he had consider to include in the his famous problem list of the talk at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900 in Paris. This problem concerns simplicity of proofs. In this paper we review the (very few) traces of this problem which one can find in the work of Hilbert and his school, as well as modern research started on it after its publication. We stress, in particular, the mathematical nature of the problem.1

Open access

Dorota Probucka

Abstract

The aim of the article is to analyze the modern mass media, in which the line between truth and lies has been blurred, leading to a lack of responsibility for words and their cognitive value. In the first part of the article, the value of truth in journalism is explored and the professional ethos associated with it, known as being ‘pro-truth’. In the second part, the negative effects of media lies and their various forms are described.

Open access

Michaela Petrufová Joppová

Abstract

The present article deals with specific normative concepts of Spinoza’s ethical system and compares them to certain aspects of the theory of ethics of social consequences. At first, a way to approach the problem of normativity in Spinoza is presented, concentrating on the obligatory character of rational - or intellectual - motives. Then, theoretical evidence is presented which links Spinoza to normative-ethical consequentialism. The basis for a consequentialist model of Spinoza’s ethics is the concept of perfection, and on this basis it seems possible to consider its compatibility with non-utilitarian forms of consequentialism, such as ethics of social consequences. Conclusively, the paper’s aim is to present the possibility of considering Spinozian consequentialism as a non-utilitarian consequentialism, while considering ethics of social consequences as a contemporary form of Spinozian consequentialism.

Open access

Martin Lačný, Jana Lukáčová and Iveta Kovalčíková

Abstract

The implementation of tools and techniques of the management of ethics in the academic environment has its own peculiarities arising from the nature of the expert, scientific, pedagogical, but also administrative work of university staff, requiring a considerable degree of autonomy and freedom. The aim of this case study is to present the views of university teachers and PhD students from a selected faculty of a public university in Slovakia on the implementation of tools and techniques for the management of ethics and to identify specific risks associated with the nature of the code of ethics and its introduction into practice. Qualitative research was conducted using focus groups during the implementation of the code of ethics, while quantitative research was subsequently conducted by an anonymous electronic questionnaire shortly after the introduction of the code into practice.

Open access

Ľubica Učník

Abstract

In this paper, I will argue that Patočka’s decision to become a signatory and one of the spokesperson of Charter 77 was both deeply informed, and in fact necessitated, by his whole philosophical understanding. I will suggest that the importance of Patočka’s contribution to Charter 77 goes beyond the original aim of the declaration, pointing to the broader significance of the moral and political crisis in a society reduced to the sphere of instrumental rationality. For Patočka, to think about humans and their existence in the world is irreducible to instrumental rationality.

Open access

Joseph J. Hyde and Walter E. Block

Abstract

What is the source of the antipathy of Catholic intellectuals toward free markets? That is the issue addressed in the present paper. We see the antecedents of this viewpoint of theirs in terms of secular humanism, Marxism and mistaken views of morality and economics. One of the explanations for this phenomenon are the teachings of St Augustine. He greatly distrusted the City of Man, seeing it as anarchic and chaotic. In contrast, his City of God is more orderly, but far removed from the hurly burly of free enterprise. Another source of the rejection of capitalism on the part of Catholic intellectuals is liberation theology, which is Marxism minus the atheism of that doctrine. Both economic and cultural Marxism have played a role in the alienation of such intellectuals from the tenets of laissez faire capitalism. Are there any counter currents? Yes, the School of Salamanca, which has been all but forgotten in this community.

Open access

Konrad Szocik and Bartłomiej Tkacz

Abstract

Yuri Gagarin has started the first time in human history the manned mission in space when his Vostok aircraft successfully achieved Earth orbit in 1961. Since his times, human space programs did not develop too much, and the biggest achievement still remain landing on the Moon. Despite this stagnation, there are serious plans to launch manned mission to Mars including human space settlement. In out paper, we are going to identify and discuss a couple of challenges that – in our opinion – will be a domain of every human deep-space program.

Open access

Giorgio Airoldi

Abstract

The assumption that natural selection alone is sufficient to explain not only which traits get fixed in a population/species, but also how they develop, has been questioned since Darwin’s times, and increasingly in the last decades. Alternative theories, linked to genetic and phenotypic processes, or to the theory of complex systems, have been proposed to explain the rise of the phenotypic variety upon which natural selection acts. In this article, we illustrate the current state of the issue and we propose a logical space based on phenotypic robustness that allows a classification of evolutionary phenomena and can provide a framework for unifying all these accounts.

Open access

Cécilia Bognon-Küss, Bohang Chen and Charles T. Wolfe

Abstract

Vitalism was long viewed as the most grotesque view in biological theory: appeals to a mysterious life-force, Romantic insistence on the autonomy of life, or worse, a metaphysics of an entirely living universe. In the early twentieth century, attempts were made to present a revised, lighter version that was not weighted down by revisionary metaphysics: “organicism”. And mainstream philosophers of science criticized Driesch and Bergson’s “neovitalism” as a too-strong ontological commitment to the existence of certain entities or “forces”, over and above the system of causal relations studied by mechanistic science, rejecting the weaker form, organicism, as well. But there has been some significant scholarly “push-back” against this orthodox attitude, notably pointing to the 18th-century Montpellier vitalists to show that there are different historical forms of vitalism, including how they relate to mainstream scientific practice (Wolfe and Normandin, eds. 2013). Additionally, some trends in recent biology that run counter to genetic reductionism and the informational model of the gene present themselves as organicist (Gilbert and Sarkar 2000, Moreno and Mossio 2015). Here, we examine some cases of vitalism in the twentieth century and today, not just as a historical form but as a significant metaphysical and scientific model. We argue for vitalism’s conceptual originality without either reducing it to mainstream models of science or presenting it as an alternate model of science, by focusing on historical forms of vitalism, logical empiricist critiques thereof and the impact of synthetic biology on current (re-)theorizing of vitalism.