In this episode I talk to Regina Rini, Canada Research Chair at York University in Toronto. Regina has a background in neuroscience and cognitive science but now works primarily in moral philosophy. She has the distinction of writing a lot of philosophy for the public through her columns for the Time Literary Supplement and the value of this becomes a major theme of our conversation.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
I recently did a live online session with Anthony Morgan (editor of the Philosopher magazine) on robots/AI and philosophy. You watch the recorded video from the session above. It was a fun conversation and includes some of my thoughts about the recent LaMDA sentience kerfuffle. Below is the description from Youtube:
Can you be friends with a robot? Should we oppose the development of sex robots? Should child sex robots be used to treat those with paedophilic predilections? How could robots impact on our work lives and social relationships? Can robots have significant moral status? Should they be granted the status of legal personhood? We are living through an era of increased robotisation. In this conversation, philosopher of technology John Danaher considers various social, moral, and legal implications arising from this phenomenon, as well as the risks and possibilities that it presents for human flourishing.
Monday, June 20, 2022
This is the second episode in my short series on The Ethics of Academia. In this episode I chat to Michael Cholbi, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. We reflect on the value of applied ethical research and the right approach to teaching. Michael has thought quite a lot about the ethics of work, in general, and the ethics of teaching and grading in particular. So those become central themes in our conversation.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
I have been reflecting on the ethics of academic life for some time. I've written several articles about it over the years. These have focused on the ethics of grading, student-teacher relationships, academic career choice, and the value of teaching (among other things). I've only scratched the surface. It seems to me that academic life is replete with ethical dilemmas and challenges. Some systematic reflection on and discussion of those ethical challenges would seem desirable. Obviously, there is a fair bit of writing available on the topic but, as best I can tell, there is no podcast dedicated to it. So I decided to start one.
I'm launching this podcast as both an addendum to my normal podcast (which deals primarily with the ethics of technology) and as an independent podcast in its own right. If you just want to subscribe to the Ethics of Academia, you can do so here (Apple and Spotify). (And if you do so, you'll get the added bonus of access to the first three episodes). I intend this to be a limited series but, if it proves popular, I might come back to it.
In the first episode, I chat to Sven Nyholm (Utrecht University) about the ethics of research, teaching and administration. Sven is a longtime friend and collaborator. He has been one of my most frequent guests on my main podcast so he seemed like the ideal person to kickstart this series. Although we talk about a lot of different things, Sven draws particular attention to the ethical importance of the division of labour in academic life.
You can download the episode here or listen below.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
How easily do we anthropomorphise robots? Do we see them as moral agents or, even, moral patients? Can we dehumanise them? These are some of the questions addressed in this episode with my guests, Dennis Küster and Aleksandra Świderska. Dennis is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bremen. Aleksandra is a senior researcher at the University of Warsaw. They have worked together on a number of studies about how humans perceive and respond to robots. We discuss several of their joint studies in this episode.
- Dennis's webpage
- Aleksandra's webpage
- 'I saw it on YouTube! How online videos shape perceptions of mind, morality, and fears about robots' by Dennis, Aleksandra and David Gunkel
- 'Robots as malevolent moral agents: Harmful behavior results in dehumanization, not anthropomorphism' by Aleksandra and Dennis
- 'Seeing the mind of robots: Harm augments mind perception but benevolent intentions reduce dehumanisation of artificial entities in visual vignettes' by Dennis and Aleksandra