Assistant Professor

Sven Nyholm

It makes sense to attribute significant forms of agency to many current robotic technologies. But this agency is typically best seen as a type of collaborative agency, in which the other key partners are humans.

Group / Department
Philosophy & Ethics
Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences

Research Profile

Sven Nyholm is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His main areas of research are applied ethics (especially the ethics of technology), ethical theory, and the history of ethics. More specifically, he has recently published on love-relationships and biomedical enhancements, sex robots, motivation-enhancements, accident-algorithms for self-driving cars, deep brain stimulation, happiness and well-being, meaning in life, and interpersonal respect and moral reasoning. Nyholm’s work also focuses on the ethics of automated driving, human-robot collaboration, deep brain stimulation (including its effect on the self), and disability and the goods of life. He is especially interested in how robotization and other types of automation affect traditional human values, as well as in existential questions raised by new technological developments.

Academic Background

Sven Nyholm received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2012. His dissertation, on Kant’s ethics, was awarded the Proquest Distinguished Dissertation Award. A revised version, with the title Revisiting Kant’s Universal Law and Humanity Formulas, was published in book form by De Gruyter in 2015. Before joining the faculty at TU/e in 2015, Nyholm  worked at the University of Cologne for three years. Nyholm’s undergraduate education was at Lund University in Sweden, where he received a BA and an MA in philosophy in 2005. His articles have appeared in general philosophy journals, ethics journals, and bioethics journals including Journal of the American Philosophical Association, European Journal of Philosophy, Metaphilosophy, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Journal of Applied Philosophy and The Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. A co-authored article (on happiness) appeared in the first volume of the Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy. More recently, a co-authored article on love and sex robots appeared in an anthology on Robot Sex published by the MIT Press. Nyholm is currently writing a second book (under contract with Rowman & Littlefield International), about the ethics of responsible human-robot interaction, with a special focus on the human tendency to anthropomorphize robots.