Artificial Moral Patients: Mentality, Intentionality, and Systematicity


  • Howard Nye University of Alberta
  • Tugba Yolbas University of Alberta


Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Moral Patients, Mental Patients, Moral Patients, Well-being


In this paper, we defend three claims about what it will take for an AI system to be a basic moral patient to whom we can owe duties of non-maleficence not to harm her and duties of beneficence to benefit her: (1) Moral patients are mental patients; (2) Mental patients are true intentional systems; and (3) True intentional systems are systematically flexible. We suggest that we should be particularly alert to the possibility of such systematically flexible true intentional systems developing in the areas of exploratory robots and artificial personal assistants. Finally, we argue that in light of our failure to respect the well-being of existing biological moral patients and worries about our limited resources, there are compelling moral reasons to treat artificial moral patiency as something to be avoided at least for now.


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How to Cite

Nye, Howard, and Tugba Yolbas. 2021. “Artificial Moral Patients: Mentality, Intentionality, and Systematicity”. The International Review of Information Ethics 29 (March). Edmonton, Canada.