Ethics of Technology

In the Ethics of Technology group we believe philosophy should aim at finding answers to problems of actual scientific or societal relevance. Much of our work interacts with science and other academic disciplines and takes place in different interdisciplinary fields, e.g. between philosophy and economics, philosophy and biology, philosophy and computer science, and between philosophy and robotics. Our main research area is ethics applied to technological problems. We observe multiple emerging ethical issues surrounding technology in a time where the engineering sciences have an increasing impact on society. Especially the rapid development within computer science and the life sciences calls for systematic ethical analysis.

When ethics is applied to technology it often calls for answers to questions belonging to other philosophical disciplines, e.g. logic, epistemology and metaphysics. Though we mainly work on ethical challenges our work is not limited to ethics, but operates more broadly in the scope of applied philosophy. Here follows a short selected list of specific research questions we are interested in:

  • How can ethical principles be formalized and implemented computationally? In collaboration with scholars from Freiburg University. See the HERA project www.hera-project.com. See selected publications 6 and 7.
  • What ethical principles should apply to robots? See selected publications 5.
  • How can we make a denotic logic which is more combatible with linguistic intuitions about deontic inferences? See selected publications 4.
  • How can we compare companies in terms of how environmentally sustainable they are? In collaboration with the Quantitative Sustainability Assessment group, DTU Management.
  • Is organic farming compatible with new breeding techniques for rewilding? In earlier collaboration with department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Copenhagen University. See selected publications 3.
  • Are individuals responsible for increased risk of diseases caused by lifestyle? If so, what is their cost-responsibility? In earlier collaboration with Danish Cancer Society. See selected publications 1 and 2.

Teaching

 

The Ethics of Technology group is responsible for the mandatory B.Sc-level course Philosophy of Science in Engineering and the corresponding course in Danish Ingeniørfagets Videnskabsteori (42610 + 42611). The course covers selected problems of philosophy of science, logic and ethics relevant to engineering with a general focus on the validity and structuring of arguments. The course is offered to most engineer students at DTU. For more information see: http://kurser.dtu.dk/course/42610.

The Ethics of Technology group also offers one- and two-day courses in ethics for teachers at DTU Diploma.

The Ethics of Technology group welcomes students who want to do their graduation project within or partly within ethics, logic, epistemology and philosophy of science.

Selected publications

  1. Andersen MM. 2014. What does society owe me if I am responsible for being worse off? Journal of Applied Philosophy (31) 3: 271-286.

  2. Andersen MM, Dalton SO, Johansen C, Lynch J, Holtug N. 2013. Social inequality in health, responsibility and egalitarian justice. Journal of Public Health (35) 1:4-8.

  3. Andersen MM, Landes X, Wen X et.al. 2015. Feasibility of new breeding techniques for organic farming. Trends in Plant Science (20) 7: 426-434.

  4. Bentzen, M.M. "Action Type Deontic Logic", Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 23(4): 397-414, 2014.

  5. Bentzen, M. M., Lindner, F., Dennis, L., & Fisher, M. (2018). Moral Permissibility of Actions in Smart Home Systems. In Federated Logic Conference 2018.

  6. Lindner, F., & Bentzen, M. M. (2018). A Formalization of Kant's Second Formulation of the Categorical Imperative. arXiv preprint arXiv:1801.03160.

  7. Lindner, F., & Bentzen, M. M. (2017). The hybrid ethical reasoning agent IMMANUEL. In Proceedings of the Companion of the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (pp. 187-188). ACM.

 


Contact

Per Dannemand Andersen
Professor/Deputy Head of Department
DTU Management
+45 45 25 45 35