Arzu Gökmen, BSc MA

Arzu Gökmen, BSc MA

Præ Doc

Arzu Gökmen

Department of Philosophy
University of Vienna
Universitätsstraße 7 (NIG)
1010 Vienna

Room: C 0317 (NIG)
Phone: +43-1-4277-46072



Areas of Specialization

Philosophy of Technology, Robot Ethics, Ethics of AI, Cognitive Science, Consciousness and Self, Social Cognition



Does it matter how we humans treat social robots and if so why does it matter? In the current literature, there are arguments for and against the direct and indirect moral status of robots. Here indirectness indicates that robots are not moral patients per se, thus, we don’t morally owe them anything for their own sake; rather, because of what we owe to ourselves and to other direct moral patients (humans, animals, environment etc), actions towards robots become morally relevant.

I don’t think that robots (which are developed based on the current paradigm of robotics and AI) can have a direct moral status—not in any substantial way. Rather, I argue that there are certain sufficient reasons for social robots to be given an indirect moral standing. That is, it matters to us how we treat robots, although it doesn’t and cannot matter to robots. And I derive reasons for this indirect status from the nature of our social cognition, the way we come-to-be and maintain-to-be social beings and how this mechanism work in our cognition of sociality of robots.

Supervisors: Mark Coeckelbergh, Angela Kallhoff


Past & Upcoming Talks

07.2021 // The Philosophy and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (CEPE/IACAP 2021): Ethical Behaviourism: Yet Another Property Based Approach for Machine Moral Status? (Cancelled).

06.2021 // The Society for Philosophy and Technology Conference (SPT-2021): "Implications of Sociomorphing for the Moral Status of Robots".

02.2021 // R. L. Rabb Symposium on Embedding AI in Society: "The Moral Status of Machines: A Critical Assessment of the Properties Approach and the Behavioral Criterion", NC State University, USA.

11.2019 // SAS19’: The Society of Learning Algorithms: "Human-Machine Interactions: Relation between Emergent Sociality, Moral Recognition and Moral Development", HLRS, Germany.

10.2019 // Graduate Student Philosophy Workshop: "Machine ethics: questions and objectives", Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey.

07.2019 // Third Immanuel Kant International Summer School: "Predictive Processing and Transcendental Idealism", Kaliningrad, Russia.

12.2018 // CIFAR Winter School of Neuroscience of Consciousness: "Intelligence vs Consciousness" (group presentation), Montebello, Canada.

09.2018 // OpenSelf 2018: "Extended Self: Redefining the 'Others', arguing from Dynamical Systems and Free-energy Principle" (poster presentation), Berlin, Germany.



Gokmen, Arzu (2018), 'Institutional Facts and AMAs in Society', Vincent C. Müller (ed.): Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2017; SAPERE 44; Berlin: Springer, pp. 248-251.


Research Groups


Other Activities

Co-Founder & Organizer at Society for Practical Philosophy

Co-Founder & Organizer at Ethics of Technology Early-career Group (ETEG)