Modelling morality with prospective logic

Luís Moniz Pereira, Ari Saptawijaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper shows how moral decisions can be drawn computationally by using prospective logic programs. These are employed to model moral dilemmas, as they are able to prospectively look ahead at the consequences of hypothetical moral judgments. With this knowledge of consequences, moral rules are then used to decide the appropriate moral judgments. The whole moral reasoning is achieved via a priori constraints and a posteriori preferences on abductive stable models, two features available in prospective logic programming. In this work, we model various moral dilemmas taken from the classic trolley problem and employ the principle of double effect as the moral rule. Our experiments show that preferred moral decisions, i.e., those following the principle of double effect, are successfully delivered. Additionally, we consider another moral principle, the principle of triple effect, in our implementation. We show that our prospective logic programs allow us to explain computationally different moral judgments that are drawn from these two slightly but distinctively different moral principles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • abductive stable models
  • computational morality
  • double effect principle
  • intelligent systems
  • modelling morality
  • moral reasoning
  • prospective logic
  • triple effect principle
  • trolley problem


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