University of Twente Student Theses


On Empathy and Alterity: How Sex Robots Encourage Us to Reconfigure Moral Status

Fox, A.Q. (2018) On Empathy and Alterity: How Sex Robots Encourage Us to Reconfigure Moral Status.

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Abstract:Traditional accounts of moral status grounded in Kantian thought have long been subject to a barrage of criticism from animal rights activists, feminists, environmentalists, ethicists, and last, but not least, philosophers of technology. While most criticism from the latter has come from abstractions of science-fiction and foreshadowing of more advanced technologies to come, 2017 was the year in which many of these cases became a reality through 47 kg of smooth silicone skin, realistically enhanced anatomy, and electronic promises to fulfill the user’s wildest dreams: Sex robots. Not long after widespread commercial use, a more select market opened up for child sex robots, rape robots, and “abused” robots generating massive amounts of public and academic backlash alike. Although this could merely be a categorical error across the board, this thesis will use such claims to begin an investigation into the question, “Can sex robots be abused?”. I will explore this question not only by reflecting upon various traditional accounts of moral status, but also challenging the reader to see the emergence of sex robots as an opportunity to peer beyond the veil of tradition and consider less Western, anthropocentric, and exclusive approaches to moral status.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy, 10 humanities in general
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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