Humans, Animals, and Robots: A Phenomenological Approach to Human-Robot Relations

Abstract

This paper argues that our understanding of many human-robot relations can be enhanced by comparisons with human-animal relations and by a phenomenological approach which highlights the significance of how robots appear to humans. Some potential gains of this approach are explored by discussing the concept of alterity, diversity and change in human-robot relations, Heidegger’s claim that animals are ‘poor in world’, and the issue of robot-animal relations. These philosophical reflections result in a perspective on human-robot relations that may guide robot design and inspire more empirical human-robot relations research that is sensitive to how robots appear to humans in different contexts at different times.

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Correspondence to Mark Coeckelbergh.

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A first version of this paper has been presented at the 2nd International Conference on Human-Robot Personal Relations, Tilburg, June 11–12, 2009.

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Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Coeckelbergh, M. Humans, Animals, and Robots: A Phenomenological Approach to Human-Robot Relations. Int J of Soc Robotics 3, 197–204 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-010-0075-6

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Keywords

  • Human-robot relations
  • Human-animal relations
  • Phenomenology
  • Appearance
  • Robot-animal relations