WIP Series


3A (NIG, Universitätsstraße 7, 3rd floor) 17:00 - 18:30. 

Pia-Zoe Hahne (University of Vienna): 

"‘Trust the Machine?’: Conceptualising Trust in the Age of Generative Artificial Intelligence"

To accept a new technology, we first need to trust it. With AI, there is not just one specific kind of trust that we put in the system; instead, it is a “multidimensional construct, including trust in functionality, trust in reliability, and trust in data protection” (Wang, Lin & Shao, 2022, p. 340). However, trust in AI is often only conceptualised as an epistemic trust (Alvaro, 2023; Ryan, 2020). These approaches to study conceptual disruptions often remain abstract and disregard the involvement of stakeholders. This is where a new approach in engaging with conceptual disruptions comes in. Conceptual engineering is an emerging approach in philosophy of technology. It stresses the connection between empirical research and conceptual analysis (Löhr, 2023). Conceptual misalignment is relevant for AI as it describes a scenario in which concepts seem applicable while hiding “an underlying value misalignment” (Marchiori & Scharp, 2024, p. 2), resulting in ethical problems. Trust is an ideal concept for conceptual engineering as it forms the basis for other concepts and disruptions therefore have farreaching consequences. Löhr (2023) and Marchiori & Sharp (2024) specifically points out that studying these disruptions necessitates empirical data, demonstrating a new turn in engaging with conceptual disruptions. The intense disruptions influenced by AI present new challenges by moving away from a purely epistemic view on trust in technology as well as the far-reaching consequences on trust between people and trust in institutions. I present a new approach to study conceptual disruptions by moving beyond abstract conceptual analysis and into practical uses of concepts and empirical data through conceptual engineering. 



Dominik Boll (VU University Amsterdam)

"Taking Responsibility: With or Without You?"

My topic in this talk is talking responsibility and its place in our responsibility practices. The literature on responsibility has blossomed and turned to ever finer specialisation in the last decades, and yet the primary focus often remains on holding responsible. Philosophers have increasingly turned to theorising our responsibility practices—how blaming and praising are socialised phenomena, how holding responsible is something we do between each other beyond blame as a mental state—but there is still much focus on what the blamer does or is licenced to do.

Few theorists focus on the perspective on the other side of responsibility interactions. While there are large literatures on guilt, apologies, or making amends, writers rarely take the general first-personal perspective of the party responding to their own infraction, investigating what it is for the agent to react to what they have done, what they are required to do to deal with it, and what precisely their response aims at. This presents an activity distinct from holding oneself responsible (Bero 2020). Indeed, the need to respond to our actions and their significance is an omnipresent aspect of our moral lives. We hold others responsible for what they do, and we take responsibility for what we do.

This is not, however, how taking responsibility is currently theorised. Departing from Wolf (2001), philosophers have proposed different accounts of taking responsibility (Enoch 2012; Sliwa 2024; Mason 2019). They differ in their assumptions and goals but theorise something similar—how we react to (some of) our own morally consequential actions such as to accommodate its fallout for others. Notably, however, taking responsibility is captured as something entirely internal to the wrongdoer and not as an interpersonal practice parallel to holding responsible. In this paper, I theorise this interpersonal phenomenon.

I first explicate two common threads in the literature on taking responsibility. Taking responsibility is theorised as something which the agent can do all by themselves, yet taking responsibility is supposed to be essentially interpersonal. I argue that this presents a tension and leaves a lacuna to theorise a broader account of taking responsibility. I then advance two arguments to show that such an account is needed for making sense of the full extent of our responsibility practices. Lastly, I provide the contours of such an account as an activity which achieves certain aims between its parties. This embeds taking responsibility in the broader web of our responsibility practices and resolves the tension. If my action has a morally significant impact on you, I can only take responsibility with you, not without you. 

You can write to wip.philosophie@univie.ac.at if you have any questions or would like to present for the Work-in-Progress series.