AUTONOMY, TRUST, AND SERVICE

THE SERVICE VIEW ON ENHANCEMENT

Trust and service should be taken as the central principles in the debate on the ethics of enhancement interventions. The ethically commendable enhancements are those that are used for service and in this way do not erode interpersonal trust. Based on the evolutionary anthropology of prestige and dominance.

Draft manuscript here (under review)

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AGENCY

THE ONTOLOGY OF ORGANISMIC AGENCY: A KANTIAN APPROACH

Is organismic agency genuinely ‘real’ or just a fiction? In this paper I worked together with Philippe Huneman to identify a "Kantian" approach to this issue: attributing agency to organisms is not a merely a heuristic or predictive tool, nor is it to be taken literally in the way we attribute physical properties such as mass or acceleration. Rather, it is an inevitable consequence of our own rational capacity: as long as we are rational agents ourselves, we cannot avoid seeing agency in organisms. Published in In Natural Born Monads: On the Metaphysics of Organisms and Human Individuals, edited by Andrea Altobrando and Pierfrancesco Biasetti. Berlin: De Gruyter.

AGENCY

ENVIRONMENTAL NOVELTY DISTINGUISHES AGENTIAL FROM SELECTIVE EXPLANATIONS

Both natural selection and agency produce adaptive behaviour. Under what circumstances should we judge an agential explanation to be appropriate? In this paper I argue that, if an organism produces an adaptive behavior in a novel selective environment, then this must be explained as an agential behavior.

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©2020 by Hugh Desmond.