Robots, Institutional Roles and Collective Ends

Seumas Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


In this paper the role of robots in institutional settings is considered and, in particular, the possibility of robots occupying institutional roles. It is argued that robots are not rational agents and, therefore, cannot choose their ultimate ends, including the ultimate collective ends of institutions. Moreover, robots are not moral agents and cannot exercise the moral judgments, including discretionary moral judgments, required of institutional role occupants. Rather robots can only be organisational role occupants performing a restricted range of specialised tasks that do not require moral judgments and doing so in circumscribed domains under the tight control of human beings. Robots in institutional roles are, or ought to be, technological instruments under the control of human agents in the service of the collective goods definitive of the institutions in question.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Robots in Social Institutions - Proceedings of Robophilosophy 2022
EditorsRaul Hakli, Pekka Makela, Johanna Seibt
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781643683744
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event5th Robophilosophy Conference: Social Robots in Social Institutions, Robophilosophy 2022 - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 16 Aug 202219 Aug 2022

Publication series

NameFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications
ISSN (Print)0922-6389
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8314


Conference5th Robophilosophy Conference: Social Robots in Social Institutions, Robophilosophy 2022


  • collective ends
  • institutional roles
  • institutions
  • robots


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