Advertisement

Understanding and Augmenting Human Morality: An Introduction to the ACTWith Model of Conscience

  • Jeffrey White
Part of the Studies in Computational Intelligence book series (SCI, volume 314)

Abstract

Recent developments, both in the cognitive sciences and in world events, bring special emphasis to the study of morality. The cognitive sciences, spanning neurology, psychology, and computational intelligence, offer substantial advances in understanding the origins and purposes of morality. Meanwhile, world events urge the timely synthesis of these insights with traditional accounts that can be easily assimilated and practically employed to augment moral judgment, both to solve current problems and to direct future action. The object of the following paper is to present such a synthesis in the form of a model of moral cognition, the ACTWith model of conscience. The purpose of the model is twofold. One, the ACTWith model is intended to shed light on personal moral dispositions, and to provide a tool for actual human moral agents in the refinement of their moral lives. As such, it relies on the power of personal introspection, bolstered by the careful study of moral exemplars available to all persons in all cultures in the form of literary or religious figures, if not in the form of contemporary peers and especially leadership. Two, the ACTWith model is intended as a minimum architecture for fully functional artificial morality. As such, it is essentially amodal, implementation non-specific and is developed in the form of an information processing control system. There are given as few hard points in this system as necessary for moral function, and these are themselves taken from review of actual human cognitive processes, thereby intentionally capturing as closely as possible what is expected of moral action and reaction by human beings. Only in satisfying these untutored intuitions should an artificial agent ever be properly regarded as moral, at least in the general population of existing moral agents. Thus, the ACTWith model is intended as a guide both for individual moral development and for the development of artificial moral agents as future technology permits.

Keywords

Moral Theory Moral Action Moral Duty Moral Cognition Categorical Imperative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Ames van, M.: Conscience and calculation. International Journal of Ethics 47, 180–192 (1937)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bailey, A.R.: The strange attraction of sciousness: William james on consciousness. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 34, 414–434 (1998)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barsalou, L.W.: Perceptual symbol systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22, 577–660 (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Beiswanger, G.: The logic of conscience. The Journal of Philosophy 47, 225–237 (1950)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Boutroux, E.: The individual conscience and the law. International Journal of Ethics 27, 317–333 (1917)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Boutroux, E.: Liberty of conscience. International Journal of Ethics 28, 59–69 (1917)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brooks, R., Stein, L.: Building brains for bodies. Autonomous Robots 1, 7–25 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Clark, A.: Embodiment and the philosophy of mind. Current Issues in Philosophy of Mind 43, 35–52 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dean, R.: Does neuroscience undermine deontological theory (2010), doi:10.1007/s12152-009-9052-xGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Eliasmith, C.: How we ought to describe computation in the brain (2010), http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~celiasmi/cv.html (last accessed February 15, 2010)
  11. 11.
    Gallese, V., Keysers, C., Rizzolatti, G.: A unifying view of the basis of social cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8, 396–403 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Goldman, A.: Hurley on simulation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77, 775–788 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hurley, S.: Understanding simulation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77, 755–774 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Klein, D.B.: The psychology of conscience. International Journal of Ethics 40, 246–262 (1930)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lavazza, A., De Caro, M.: Not so fast: On some bold claims concerning human agency (2010), doi:10.1007/s12152-009-9053-9Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Natsoulas, T.: The sciousness hypothesis - part i. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 17, 45–66 (1996)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Natsoulas, T.: The sciousness hypothesis - part ii. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 17, 185–206 (1996)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Olson, R.G.A.: Naturalistic theory of conscience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 19, 306–322 (1959)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ramachandran, V.: A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness. Pearson Education, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Reid, M.D.: Memory as initial experiencing of the past. Philosophical Psychology 18, 671–698 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sun, R.: The Duality of Mind: A Bottom-Up Approach to Cognition. L. Erlbaum and Associates, New Jersey (2002)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tonkens, R.: A challenge for machine ethics. Minds & Machines 19, 421–438 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Umilta, M., Kohler, E., Gallese, V., Forgassi, L., Fadiga, L., Keysers, C., Rizzolatti, G.: I know what you are doing: A neurophysiological approach. Neuron. 31, 155–165 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Velleman, J.D.: The voice of conscience. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99, 57–76 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ward, B.: The content and function of conscience. The Journal of Philosophy 58, 765–772 (1961)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    William, W.: Some paradoxes of private conscience as a political guide. Ethics 80, 306–312 (1970)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Wilson, E.: Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Random House, New York (1998)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wright, W.K.: Conscience as reason and emotion. Philosophy Review 25, 676–691 (1916)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey White
    • 1
  1. 1.KAISTSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations