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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter August 30, 2021

AI and Phronesis

Nir Eisikovits and Dan Feldman

Abstract

We argue that the growing prevalence of statistical machine learning in everyday decision making – from creditworthiness to police force allocation – effectively replaces many of our humdrum practical judgments and that this will eventually undermine our capacity for making such judgments. We lean on Aristotle’s famous account of how phronesis and moral virtues develop to make our case. If Aristotle is right that the habitual exercise of practical judgment allows us to incrementally hone virtues, and if AI saves us time by taking over some of those practical judgments, or if its pattern recognition capacities are very good at learning that kind of behavior – we risk innovating ourselves out of moral competence with the introduction of AI.


Corresponding author: Nir Eisikovits, Applied Ethics Center, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA02125, USA, E-mail:

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Published Online: 2021-08-30

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