The Moral Status of Technical Artefacts

  • Peter Kroes
  • Peter-Paul Verbeek

Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 17)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Peter Kroes, Peter-Paul Verbeek
    Pages 1-9
  3. F. Allan Hanson
    Pages 55-73
  4. Ibo van de Poel, Peter Kroes
    Pages 103-124
  5. Deborah G. Johnson, Merel Noorman
    Pages 143-158
  6. Christian F. R. Illies, Anthonie Meijers
    Pages 159-184
  7. Luciano Floridi
    Pages 185-212
  8. Sven Ove Hansson
    Pages 235-248

About this book


This book considers the question: to what extent does it make sense to qualify technical artefacts as moral entities? The authors’ contributions trace recent proposals and topics including instrumental and non-instrumental values of artefacts, agency and artefactual agency, values in and around technologies, and the moral significance of technology.

The editors’ introduction explains that as ‘agents’ rather than simply passive instruments, technical artefacts may actively influence their users, changing the way they perceive the world, the way they act in the world and the way they interact with each other.

This volume features the work of various experts from around the world, representing a variety of positions on the topic. Contributions explore the contested discourse on agency in humans and artefacts, defend the Value Neutrality Thesis by arguing that technological artefacts do not contain, have or exhibit values, or argue that moral agency involves both human and non-human elements.

The book also investigates technological fields that are subject to negative moral valuations due to the harmful effects of some of their products. It includes an analysis of some difficulties arising in Artificial Intelligence and an exploration of values in Chemistry and in Engineering. The Moral Status of Technical Artefacts is an advanced exploration of the various dimensions of the relations between technology and morality.


Agency in humans and artifacts Artefactual moral agency Artefactural agency Artificial agents and their moral nature Instrumental and non-instrumental values of artefacts Moral significance of technology Post-human sociomaterial agency Value sensitive design Values in Chemistry and Engineering Values in technologies humans and artefacts structural ethics approach to moral agents

Editors and affiliations

  • Peter Kroes
    • 1
  • Peter-Paul Verbeek
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information