PhD defence Aldo Ramírez Abarca: How logic can lend a hand in defining ‘responsibility’

Robot. Foto: Maximalfocus, via Unsplash

On 7 June, Aldo Ramírez Abarca will defend his PhD thesis ‘Logics of Responsibility’, in which he builds a formal theory of responsibility. With this, he hopes to provide theoretical foundations for introducing symbolic techniques into the construction of ethical artificial intelligence.

Responsibility and logics

The study of responsibility is a complicated matter. The term is used in different ways in different fields and in every day discussions it is easy to get bogged down in arguments about responsibility. Typically, the backdrop of these discussions involves social, legal, moral, or philosophical problems.

A clear pattern in all these spheres is the desire and intent of issuing standards for when and to what extent someone should be held responsible. This is where logic can lend a hand, Remírez Abarca argues: expressive syntactic and semantic frameworks, he says, can help to analyse responsibility-related problems in a methodical way.

In his dissertation, Ramírez Abarca outlines such frameworks. He builds a formal theory and examines five components of responsibility: agency, knowledge, beliefs, intentions, and obligations. The result is a formal framework with which he characterises causal, informational, and motivational responsibility.

Start date and time
End date and time
Hybrid: online (click here) and at the Utrecht University Hall
PhD candidate
A.I. Ramirez Abarca
Logics of Responsibility
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. J.M. Broersen
Dr H.W.A. Duijf