What Makes Any Biomechanism a Nihilistic Biomechanism?


Three Pound Brain

Peter at Conscious Entities has another fascinating post on the issue of machines and morality, this time in response to a paper by Joel Parthemore and Blay Whitby called “What Makes Any Agent a Moral Agent?” Since BLOG-PHARAU was hungry, I figured I would post a brief reworked version of my take here. I fear it does an end run around their argument, but there’s nothing much to be done when you disagree with an argument’s basic assumptions

My short answer to the question in their title is simply, ‘Whenever treating them as such reliably produces effective outcomes.’ Why? Because there is no fact of the matter when it comes to moral agency. It is a heuristic how, not an ontological what.

I find it interesting that they begin their abstract thus. “In this paper, we take moral agency to be that context in which a particular agent can, appropriately, be…

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