Modelling Moral Reasoning and Ethical Responsibility with Logic Programming

  • Fiona BerrebyEmail author
  • Gauvain Bourgne
  • Jean-Gabriel Ganascia
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9450)


In this paper, we investigate the use of high-level action languages for representing and reasoning about ethical responsibility in goal specification domains. First, we present a simplified Event Calculus formulated as a logic program under the stable model semantics in order to represent situations within Answer Set Programming. Second, we introduce a model of causality that allows us to use an answer set solver to perform reasoning over the agent’s ethical responsibility. We then extend and test this framework against the Trolley Problem and the Doctrine of Double Effect. The overarching aim of the paper is to propose a general and adaptable formal language that may be employed over a variety of ethical scenarios in which the agent’s responsibility must be examined and their choices determined. Our fundamental ambition is to displace the burden of moral reasoning from the programmer to the program itself, moving away from current computational ethics that too easily embed moral reasoning within computational engines, thereby feeding atomic answers that fail to truly represent underlying dynamics.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiona Berreby
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gauvain Bourgne
    • 1
  • Jean-Gabriel Ganascia
    • 1
  1. 1.LIP6University Pierre and Marie CurieParisFrance

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