Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

Dustin Locke

Rights Information

2018 Marcia X Yang


As technology becomes more sophisticated, it becomes increasingly important to understand how we should ethically use technology. One question within this area of study is whether we should treat certain types of technology, like artificial intelligence, with more respect. If we do owe these machines some sort of moral status, another question is what level of moral status they have. In order to answer these questions, I argue that machines can be considered as minds under the view of machine functionalism. A significant problem for machine functionalism is whether it can account for emotions within the system it suggests. First, I argue that emotions are able to fit within the system using Martha Nussbaum’s framework for emotions. Second, I address Craig Delancey’s objections to Nussbaum’s view, and I suggest friendly amendments to Nussbaum’s framework. Third, I look at how Nussbaum’s view fits within the theory of machine functionalism. And finally, I consider the implications of the view that machines can have minds like humans can, and how we should treat machines in light of this argument.