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Personhood and Creation in an Age of Robots and AI: Can We Say “You” to Artifacts?


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This paper explores the extent to which the I-You relation should be applied to domains other than the human and the divine focusing particularly on artefacts and technology. Drawing first on the work of Martin Buber, Gabriel Marcel and Martin Heidegger I contend that the I-You tradition has maintained I-You relations with objects are possible even when these same figures level strong critiques of the I-It relation. I extend these discussions and argue that some kind of you-speaking for artefacts is needed to combat rampant consumption and reduction of the world to pure utility. But, I equally suggest there are limitations to applying the I-You relation to artefacts precisely when doing so keeps us from having genuine relationships with other people as outlined by psychologist Sherry Turkle. Finally, I outline how this proposal impacts the doctrine of creation. In sum, it expands our intuitions of what is included in that doctrine creation.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 7, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 11, 2020
Publication Date Jun 11, 2020
Deposit Date Jun 15, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 16, 2020
Journal Zygon
Print ISSN 0591-2385
Electronic ISSN 1467-9744
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Issue 2
Pages 347-360
Public URL
Publisher URL


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