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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special issue on The Machine as Moral Agent and Patient

Special issue in Philosophy and Technology

Joanna Bryson, Reader, Department of Computer Science, University of Bath, UK 

David J. Gunkel, Professor, Northern Illinois University, USA 

One of the enduring concerns of moral philosophy is deciding who or what is deserving of ethical 
consideration. Although initially limited to "other men," the practice of ethics has developed in 
such a way that it continually challenges its own restrictions and comes to encompass what had been
previously excluded individuals and groupsforeigners, women, animals, corporations, and even the 
environment. Currently, we stand on the verge of another fundamental challenge to moral thinking. 
This challenge comes from the autonomous, intelligent machines of our own making, and it puts in 
question many deep-seated assumptions about who or what constitutes a moral subject. The way we 
address and respond to this challenge may have profound effects not only on our own self- 
understanding  our place in the world and our responsibilities  but also on our society and the 
larger ecosystems to which we belong. The question of what is an agent, a moral actor holding 
responsibility, and what is a patient, an entity deserving of respect and moral consideration, 
determines our priorities and directs our resources, from personal time to mineral wealth. 

In this special issue of Philosophy and Technology we seek articles to address, evaluate, and 
respond to questions such as: Can machines be held responsible for actions that affect human 
beings? What limitations, if any, should guide autonomous decision making by artificial 
intelligence systems, computers, or robots? Is it possible to program such mechanisms with 
an appropriate sense of right and wrong? What moral responsibilities would these machines have to 
us, and what responsibilities might we have to such ethically minded machines? What kind of moral 
claim might such mechanisms have? What are the philosophical grounds for such a claim, and what 
would it mean to articulate and practice an ethics of this? 

Although we initially addressed these questions in the symposium The Machine Question: AI,Ethics 
& Moral Responsibility, this call is open to new papers as well as symposium authors. We invite 
submissions from all cognate disciplines.. 

20 October 2012, Call for papers issued
10 January 2012, Deadline for paper submissions
15 January 2013, Papers sent out for review
15 March 2013, Review complete and authors contacted for revision 1 June 2013, Revised papers due 
and resubmitted in final version
1 July 2013, Final submissions delivered to the journal's editor in chief 


To submit a paper for this special issue, authors should go to the journals Editorial Manager The author (or a corresponding author for each submission 
in case of co-authored papers) must register into EM. 

The author must then select the special article type: The Machine as Moral Agent and Patient from 
the selection provided in the submission process. This is needed in order to assign the submissions
to the Guest Editors.

Each submission will then be assessed according to the following procedure: New Submission ⇒ 
Journal Editorial Office ⇒ Guest Editor(s) ⇒ Reviewers ⇒ Reviewers Recommendations ⇒ Guest 
Editor(s) Recommendation ⇒ Editor-in-Chiefs Final Decision ⇒ Author Notification of the Decision. 
This process will be iterated in case of requests for revisions. Late revisions that miss the 
special issue will still be considered for acceptance in the journal. 

For any further information please contact:
Joanna Bryson ( or David Gunkel (