In the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant held that we should regard other human beings as ends in themselves, never as mere means. In Knowledge as a Duty, however, Lorenzo Magnani contends that one of the best hopes for achieving social justice is to do exactly what Kant warned against: we must treat people as if they were things. By acknowledging the “thingness” of human beings, Magnani argues, we can learn to value people in important new ways and extend to them the kind of worth we have lavished on certain non-human entities. This shift in perspective, however, requires a great deal of new ethical knowledge as well as modern approaches to moral deliberation, and to achieve these goals Magnani provides compelling analyses of such problems and offers a variety of strategies we might use to solve them. Viewing human beings through an updated moral framework is especially important given the profound changes that have occurred since Kant’s time, for modern technologies have brought about consequences of such magnitude that old policies and ethics can no longer contain them. Magnani believes that producing and applying recalibrated moral knowledge has become a duty, one that is just as important as making scientific or medical advances. Among the troubling issues he addresses here are cyberprivacy, globalization, bad faith, cloning, biotechnologies, and ecological imbalances; the right knowledge, Magnani maintains, can manage these challenges and counter many of technology’s ill effects by preserving ownership of our own destinies, encouraging responsibility, and enhancing freedom. Also discussed are how objects, structures, and technological artifacts serve as moral carriers and mediators; the problem of free will; and the nature of practical reasoning. Using an entirely new methodology that blends epistemology with cognitive science, Magnani seeks to overthrow some traditional philosophical perspectives that have become obsolete in today’s technological era.

Morality in a Technological World. Knowledge as Duty

MAGNANI, LORENZO
2007

Abstract

In the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant held that we should regard other human beings as ends in themselves, never as mere means. In Knowledge as a Duty, however, Lorenzo Magnani contends that one of the best hopes for achieving social justice is to do exactly what Kant warned against: we must treat people as if they were things. By acknowledging the “thingness” of human beings, Magnani argues, we can learn to value people in important new ways and extend to them the kind of worth we have lavished on certain non-human entities. This shift in perspective, however, requires a great deal of new ethical knowledge as well as modern approaches to moral deliberation, and to achieve these goals Magnani provides compelling analyses of such problems and offers a variety of strategies we might use to solve them. Viewing human beings through an updated moral framework is especially important given the profound changes that have occurred since Kant’s time, for modern technologies have brought about consequences of such magnitude that old policies and ethics can no longer contain them. Magnani believes that producing and applying recalibrated moral knowledge has become a duty, one that is just as important as making scientific or medical advances. Among the troubling issues he addresses here are cyberprivacy, globalization, bad faith, cloning, biotechnologies, and ecological imbalances; the right knowledge, Magnani maintains, can manage these challenges and counter many of technology’s ill effects by preserving ownership of our own destinies, encouraging responsibility, and enhancing freedom. Also discussed are how objects, structures, and technological artifacts serve as moral carriers and mediators; the problem of free will; and the nature of practical reasoning. Using an entirely new methodology that blends epistemology with cognitive science, Magnani seeks to overthrow some traditional philosophical perspectives that have become obsolete in today’s technological era.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/137193
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