Growing Moral Relations: Critique of Moral Status Ascription by M. Coeckelbergh
By M. Coeckelbergh
New clinical and technological advancements problem us to re-evaluate our ethical global order. This publication bargains an unique philosophical method of this factor: it makes a particular contribution to the improvement of a relational method of ethical prestige through re-defining the matter in a social and phenomenological manner.
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Even if we could identify, justify and apply the environmental virtues (and if we knew to whom or to what they apply, if we knew to whose flourishing a virtuous person should be responsive), then there would still be a gap between knowledge and action: we recognize the need for a different relation to nature, for different practice, but we fail to act upon that knowledge. One could try to solve this problem by means of imagination. In its neo-Stoic version, this would involve one contemplating the logos of the universe and expanding one’s imagination from the human to the non-human (to ‘nature’).
We should consider all these principles and balance them. For example, according to Warren animals should not get equal moral status but some moral status if they are part of ‘mixed communities’. According to Warren, ‘only a multi-criterial account of moral status can incorporate the sound ethical considerations that underlie each of the uni-criterial accounts, while avoiding the distortions of moral common sense that result from the attempt to make all valid judgements about moral status follow from one single principle’ (p.
However, this approach becomes problematic when outside the moral laboratory some entities appear differently than they are – that is, they do not appear as they are supposed to appear according to moral science. We would like to categorize them as ‘beasts’ or ‘machines’, but, when we consider the so-called quasi-social nature of the new entities under discussion, it becomes harder to exclude them from the social. For example, not just animals (consider pets) but also robots may appear as ‘quasi-others’ (Ihde 1990; Coeckelbergh 2011a), as ‘artificial companions’ (Floridi 2008).