CFP: PATERNALISM, NUDGING, AND THE DIGITAL SPHERE


Information technologies (broadly construed) provide corporations and governmental institutions with tools that enable them to push the behavior of their citizens/users into directions they consider “right”. For example, E-health-applications or smart homes might promote healthier or more sustainable lifestyles while the Chinese government currently experiments with implementing the so called digitally administered ‘Social Credit System’ with the aim of improving behavioral regulation of both, their citizens and businesses. In a similar vein, the information-architecture of e.g. Google`s search algorithms or of social media sites, such as Facebook, are suspected of influencing the formation of political opinions (i.e. ‘group-polarization’ as a negative example).

 

New information technologies might also change the way in which paternalistically motivated interferences are induced. In this context, the concept of ‘nudging’ has come to increased prominence in public policy circles ever since the Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Richard Thaler in 2017. ‘Nudging’ is defined as the attempt to influence an individual’s or collective’s behavior by altering choice-architecture using basic cognitive biases. New information technologies allow for a way more potent kind of nudges: by means of big data analysis, corporations or governmental institutions are able to obtain ever more broad and fine-grained sets of information about persons and groups so that nudges can be more efficiently customized, often by AI-based bots. As a consequence, it becomes much easier to track and dynamically adjust the effectiveness of a particular choice-architecture as the relevant algorithm learns from its user`s behavior.

 

Moral Philosophy and Politics invites contributions on the ethical and political ramifications of digital technologies. Suitable research questions include, but are not limited to:

 

  • What kind of paternalistically motivated interferences are justified on moral and political grounds?
  • How can we ensure that a digital nudge still qualifies as an instance of morally acceptable libertarian paternalism?
  • When, if ever, are corporations justified to exhibit paternalistically motivated behavior? How should conflicts of interest between different paternalistic or non-paternalistic stakeholders be evaluated and resolved (such as between corporations and states)?
  • Do the ethical and political principles ‘autonomy’ or ‘informed consent’ still apply to behavior in the new digital sphere?
  • What challenges does digital paternalism pose for civic education (e.g., debates about digital literacy) and for the ethos of democratic debate more generally (e.g., debates about echo chambers; hate speech)?

 

The abovementioned questions are far from being exhaustive. For the purposes of the special issue, we are seeking a wide range of contributions that discuss topics related to digital paternalism on either the institutional or the moral psychological level.

 

Papers should be submitted before January 15th, 2020 and should generally be around 6000-8000 (maximum length) words.

 

All submissions will undergo MOPP’s double-blind refereeing process.

 

Please note that this process is not organized by the guest editors but by the journal’s founding editors who will also have the final word on publication decisions.

 

The journal’s manuscript submission site can accessed here: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mopp

 

 Guest editors:
Johannes Drerup (Free University of Amsterdam/University of Koblenz-Landau)
Sebastian Stein (University of Heidelberg)
Thomas Grote (University of Tübingen)

 

For further questions, feel free to contact: thomas.grote@uni-tuebingen.de

 


CFP: THE ETHICS OF STATE MASS SURVEILLANCE


In the aftermath of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, many governments have increased their surveillance efforts. The striking extent of some of these surveillance measures has become public knowledge through the revelations of Edward Snowden. Despite the great social relevance of the emergence of new surveillance capabilities, philosophers are only beginning to discuss the ethical significance of this development.

 

Extensive surveillance measures hold the promise of better protection against terrorism and organized crime. The legitimate effort to ensure citizens’ security clashes, however, with citizens’ equally legitimate interest in privacy and freedom from state surveillance. At the heart of the ethical problem of state mass surveillance is thus the tension between the value of privacy on the one hand and that of security on the other. The ethical evaluation of state mass surveillance requires a better understanding of these two conflicting dimensions of the problem and their relationship

 

Is privacy in the first instance a good that serves the interests of individuals, e.g. as a condition for individual autonomy, intimacy or dignity? Or might the value of privacy reside in its ability to benefit society at large, as thinkers in the republican or communitarian tradition have suggested? The tension between privacy and security then raises the question of how these two values are to be balanced. While many feel that surveillance efforts are growing increasingly disproportionate, some experts on risk have called for even more far-reaching surveillance, which they consider necessary to prevent terrorist attacks of a greater, catastrophic, scale. It is also unclear whether the mere collection of large swaths of personal data constitutes a problematic privacy violation, or whether such a violation only occurs with the accessing of such data. Depending on how this question is answered, mass surveillance efforts by states involve either a very serious infringement on citizens’ privacy rights or only a negligible one.

 

Moral Philosophy and Politics invites contributions on these and related topics for a special issue on the ethics of state mass surveillance. Suitable research questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What, if anything, is valuable about privacy and freedom from state surveillance?
  • Does the mere collecting, but not accessing, of personal information by states constitute a privacy violation?
  • When are infringements upon citizens’ privacy proportionate?
  • Should we increase surveillance efforts to prevent (catastrophic) terrorist attacks?
  • Is there a liberal/libertarian/republican/communitarian/etc. case for or against state mass surveillance?

 

Papers should be submitted before June 30, 2019 and should generally not exceed 8000 words; shorter articles will also be accepted for review.

 

All submissions will undergo MOPP’s double-blind refereeing process.

 

Please note that this process is not organized by the guest editors but by the journal’s founding editors who will also have the final word on publication decisions.

 

The journal’s manuscript submission site can accessed here: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mopp

 

Guest editor: Peter Königs, Tübingen/Karlsruhe

 


CFP: CHILDREN'S AND ADOLESCENTS' RIGHTS


Recent philosophical work on children and childhood has revealed many new questions concerning children’s and adolescents’ moral and legal rights: First, many of the questions concerning minors’ rights might be more fruitfully analysed by drawing a distinction between children’s and adolescents’ normative situation. Second, children’s and adolescents’ rights in particular areas need more scrutiny: Their rights to free association, economic rights, and rights regarding the expression of their sexuality and gender identity. Third, it is often assumed that parents have some authority over how children and adolescents may exercise their rights, and that parents can give surrogate consent on behalf of their children. But it is also increasingly recognized that children and adolescents ought, in some cases, to be allowed to give or deny consent themselves – be it in a medical context or with regard to custodial decisions. There is therefore a need to further investigate the rights of children and adolescents with regard to consent.

 

Moral Philosophy and Politics invites, by October 10, 2019, contributions between 3000 and 8000 words to the ongoing debate about children’s and adolescents’ moral and legal rights. We encourage potential authors to address questions such as:

 

  • What are the differences between the justification of children’s, adolescents’ and adults’ moral rights? What are the differences with regard to the content of children’s, adolescents’ and adults’ rights?
  • What is the scope of parental authority over the exercise of children’s and adolescents’ moral rights? Under what conditions can parents give surrogate consent for their children?
  • What rights do children have with respect to their custodians? Do children have a right to have parents? Do they have a right to continuity of care? What are the rights of children of divorce with respect to continuing, or discontinuing, the relationships with their parents? Should adolescents be allowed to unilaterally end a parent’s right to custody? What are the moral rights of fostered children?
  • Should children or adolescents have a legal right to vote, to join a political party, or to run for office?
  • Should children ever have a legal right to hold paid employment, and if yes, under what circumstances?
  • What rights do children and adolescents have to express their sexual orientation and gender identity?
  • Do children or adolescents have a right to free association, for example, to freely choose their friends?
  • Should children or adolescents be able to consent (or refuse to consent) to medical procedures? Are there cases in which a requirement of parental consent or parental notification for medical procedures is justified?
  • What moral rights do children and adolescents have to practice a religion of their own choosing or to leave a religion practiced by their custodians?

 

All submissions will undergo MOPP’s double-blind refereeing process.

 

Please note that this process is not organized by the guest editors but by the journal’s founding editors who will also have the final word on publication decisions.

 

The journal’s manuscript submission site can accessed here: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mopp

 

Guest editors: Anca Gheaus and Sabine Hohl