Issue 72

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Issue 72: March/April 2009


The Conscience Of The Machine

by Wendell Wallach


News: March/April 2009

Rhetoric teaching makes comeback • Galileo’s finger on display • French philo wins million-pound prize — News reports by Sue Roberts


Four Kinds of Ethical Robots

James H. Moor defines different ways in which machines could be moral.

How Machines Can Advance Ethics

Susan Leigh Anderson and Michael Anderson relate how their attempts to build ethical machines have advanced their understanding of ethics.

Machines and Moral Reasoning

Thomas M. Powers on how a computer might process Kant’s moral imperative.

The Challenge of Moral Machines

Wendell Wallach tells us what the basic problems are.

Will Robots Need Their Own Ethics?

Steve Torrance asks if robots need minds to be moral producers or moral consumers.


Beware of Truth!

Peter Benson tries to clear Jacques Derrida’s unjustly infamous name, and shows how memes spread in modern academia.

Contemplating Colobus

Dawn Starin reports on the state of colobus civilization in a small Gambian forest.

Hemingway and the Hero

L.A. Rowland campaigns to instate Ernest Hemingway as a philosopher-hero.

The Dragon: Memes, Culture and Evolution

In a follow-up to last issue’s focus on Darwin, we have two articles looking at memes, supposed ‘units of cultural transmission’. First, Daria Sugorakova explores the concept of memes by pondering how the idea of dragons evolved.

The Great Government Philosophers

George Fripley remembers four forgotten gurus of government.



Our twenty-sixth ingot of ingeniously indecipherable information inspirationally interwoven by Deiradiotes.



Mary Midgley’s Meanings • Good or Nutter? • Social Survival • The Evolution of Stupidity • Cosmological Dispute Continues • More Probably • What Do You Call A Collection Of Solipsists? A Contradiction • Cleanliness Next To Evil? • Person Holding Forth


Dear Socrates

Having traveled from the turn of the Fourth Century B.C. to the turn of the Twenty-First Century A.D., Socrates has eagerly signed on as a Philosophy Now columnist so that he may continue to carry out his divinely-inspired dialogic mission.

RUR or RU Ain’t A Person?

Tim Madigan leads the rise of the robots.

Man in the Middle: Animals, Humans and Robots

by Joel Marks

I Kid You Not: Knowingness and Other Shallows

Raymond Tallis dives in head first.


Death, ‘Deathlessness’ & Existenz in Karl Jaspers’ Philosophy by Filiz Peach

Kurt Salaman cheers himself up by considering Karl Jaspers’ views on death and the experience of the eternal in life.

Transcendence and History by Glenn Hughes

Robert Cheeks transcends history.

Wilfrid Sellars by James R. O’Shea

Daniel Fernandez gets to know Wilfrid Sellars, US Chief of Epistemology.


Colin Brookes sees perspectives representational and moral in Hanif Kureishi’s oblique study of love.

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