The Morality of Artificial Friends in Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun

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Can artificial entities be worthy of moral considerations? Can they be artificial moral agents (AMAs), capable of telling the difference between good and evil? In this essay, I explore both questions—i.e., whether and to what extent artificial entities can have a moral status (“the machine question”) and moral agency (“the AMA question”)—in light of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2021 novel Klara and the Sun. I do so by juxtaposing two prominent approaches to machine morality that are central to the novel: the (1) view “from within,”including the standard (or “metaphysical”) perspective on moral agency, and the (2) view “from outside,” which includes behaviorism, functionalism and the social-relational perspective. Importantly, while the story illustrates both views, it exposes the epistemological vulnerability of the first in relation to the practical and social reality imposed by the second. That is, regardless of what metaphysical properties the Artificial Friend Klara can be said to have (from within), her moral status as well as agency ultimately depend on the views of others (from outside), including the others’ own epistemic beliefs about the nature of consciousness and personhood.
Antal sidor18
TidskriftJournal of Science Fiction and Philosophy
StatusPublished - 2022 juni 15

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Filosofi
  • Litteraturstudier


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