Ethics of Possibility [PDF]

John O’Brien


Ethics is the quest of less and less trivial modes of human relatedness.
–Herbert McCabe (1968/2003)

When people count on personal assistants to make it through their day, what is possible for them depends to an important extent on the way those assistants show up in their lives. Assistants can show up in trivial ways, as mindless guards or keepers, or in more generative ways as creative allies. How they show up is a matter of of ethics – by which I mean not rule following, but that sense of what is good that informs practical wisdom, shapes human communication and guides action.