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Artificial Identity

James DiGiovanna


Enhancement and AI create moral dilemmas not envisaged in standard ethical theories. Some of this stems from the increased malleability of personal identity that this technology affords: an artificial being can instantly alter its memory, preferences, and moral character. If a self can, at will, jettison essential identity-giving characteristics, how are we to rely upon, befriend, or judge it? Moral problems will stem from the fact that such beings are para-persons: they meet all the standard requirements of personhood (self-awareness, agency, intentional states, second-order desires, etc.) but have an additional ability—the capacity for instant change—that disqualifies them from ordinary personal identity. In order to rescue some responsibility assignments for para-persons, a fine-grained analysis of responsibility-bearing parts of selves and the persistence conditions of these parts is proposed and recommended also for standard persons who undergo extreme change.

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