The philosophical basis of algorithmic recourse

Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency Conference 2020 (forthcoming)
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Philosophers have established that certain ethically important val- ues are modally robust in the sense that they systematically deliver correlative benefits across a range of counterfactual scenarios. In this paper, we contend that recourse – the systematic process of reversing unfavorable decisions by algorithms and bureaucracies across a range of counterfactual scenarios – is such a modally ro- bust good. In particular, we argue that two essential components of a good life – temporally extended agency and trust – are under- written by recourse. We critique existing approaches to the conceptualization, op- erationalization and implementation of recourse. Based on these criticisms, we suggest a revised approach to recourse and give ex- amples of how it might be implemented – especially for those who are least well off.

Author's Profile

Mark Alfano
Macquarie University


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