- G. Teubner, "Rights of Non-Humans? Electronic Agents and Animals as New Actors in Politics and Law" (link)
This is a fascinating article.
Putting it into the context of the debates that used to rage here, a few things must be said:
- "Continental philosophy" is the primary philosophical reference point in German legal scholarship. Their whole legal system is built on that tradition. Grokking that, which took a great deal of time, really made be grateful to the exposure to continental theory here. Because now the EU, which is largely based on German legal theory, is leading the world in technology law.
- The two theorists listed here are the Great Names in continental philosophical theory as of 10-20 years ago. It's funny that we never talked about them here. In my view, Latour is terrible, and Luhmann is fantastic. But your mileage may vary.
- Latour got famous riding out the Science Wars on a social constructivist platform. This was done under the auspices of a social science research, specifically ethnographies of laboratories. It's very poorly positioned philosophically, in my opinion, but nevertheless became wildly popular. My best guess as to why was that it was what mediocre people think smart people sound like. He's changed his tune since and now he has so many positions he's hard to track.
- Luhmann is a 'system theorist' of social science, a student of Talcott Parsons who drew a lot from second-order cyberneticists Maturana and Varela, who are _amazing_. Luhmann got some recognition for his epic argument with Habermas, who is/was of course the culmination of the Frankfurt School field. Luhmann is, in many ways, the cybernetics/pragmatist/engineering-menta
The combination of the two is a bit unholy. But it's a novel approach to a significant practical problem that requires philosophical insight to address: how to deal with all the artificial 'agents' that are not really 'persons' per se.
Food for thought, in case anybody check this place any more. Looks like @nanikore is still around...