1st Edition

Harmonious Technology A Confucian Ethics of Technology

Edited By Pak-Hang Wong, Tom Wang Copyright 2021
    132 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    132 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Technology has become a major subject of philosophical ethical reflection in recent years, as the novelty and disruptiveness of technology confront us with new possibilities and unprecedented outcomes as well as fundamental changes to our "normal" ways of living that demand deep reflection of technology. However, philosophical and ethical analysis of technology has until recently drawn primarily from the Western philosophical and ethical traditions, and philosophers and scholars of technology discuss the potential contribution of non-Western approaches only sparingly. Given the global nature of technology, however, there is an urgent need for multiculturalism in philosophy and ethics of technology that include non-Western perspectives in our thinking about technology. While there is an increased attention to non-Western philosophy in the field, there are few systematic attempts to articulate different approaches to the ethics of technology based on other philosophical and ethical traditions. The present edited volume picks up the task of diversifying the ethics of technology by exploring the possibility of Confucian ethics of technology. In the six chapters of this volume, the authors examine various ideas, concepts, and theories in Confucianism and apply them to the ethical challenges of technology; in the epilogue, the editors review the key ideas articulated throughout the volume to identify possible ways forward for Confucian ethics of technology.

    Harmonious Technology revives Confucianism for philosophical and ethical analysis of technology and presents Confucian ethics of technology as another approach to the ethics of technology. It will be essential for philosophers and ethicists of technology, who are urged to consider beyond the Western paradigms. More broadly, the volume will be of interest to students and scholars in the fields of philosophy, science and technology studies, innovation studies, political science, and social studies.

    Introduction: Why Confucian Ethics of Technology?

    Pak-Hang Wong and Tom Xiaowei Wang

    1. Confucian Ritual Technicity and Philosophy of Technology

    Tom Xiaowei Wang

    2. Dao, Harmony and Personhood: Toward a Confucian Ethics of Technology

    Pak-Hang Wong

    3. Technological Mediation in and for Confucianism-Based Cultures

    Ching Hung

    4. Self-Cultivation of the Confucian Engineer: What Engineering Ethics Education Can Learn from Confucian Moral Theory

    Qin Zhu

    5. Artificial Intelligence, Personal Decisions, Consent, and the Confucian Idea of Oneness

    Pak-Hang Wong

    6. Confucian Personhood and the Scientific Spirit: Ren as the Foundation of Confucian Ethics of Technology

    Fei Teng

    Epilogue: The Future of Confucian Ethics of Technology

    Tom Xiaowei Wang and Pak-Hang Wong


    Pak-Hang Wong is Research Associate at the Research Group for Ethics in IT in the Department of Informatics, Universität Hamburg, Germany.

    Tom Xiaowei Wang is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science and Technology in the School of Philosophy, Renmin University of China.

    "Harmonious Technology is a must-read for anyone interested in the philosophy and ethics of technology. While the effects of technology are global, the frameworks to understand and evaluate them are still local, dominated as they are by western approaches. In six fascinating chapters and the epilogue, the authors convincingly and profoundly demonstrate how a ‘multicultural turn’ can substantially enrich the ethics of technology. Without any doubt, this book is a solid foundation for much exciting work to come."

    - Peter-Paul Verbeek, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Technology and Co-Director of the DesignLab, University of Twente, and author of What Things Do (2005) and Moralizing Technology (2011)

    "Refreshing, stimulative, and timely, Harmonious Technology makes an important contribution to developing a Confucian philosophy of technology. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is interested in this propitious field of study."

    - Chenyang Li, Professor of Philosophy, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University, and author of The Confucian Philosophy of Harmony (2013)

    "Although there have been an increasing number of English language studies devoted to reassessing Confucianism in general terms and presenting it as a challenge to Western ethics, this is the first to tackle a range of issues in the ethics of technology from a Confucian perspective broadly construed. It represents the important work of a new generation of internationally engaged Chinese philosophers of technology."- Carl Mitcham, Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Colorado School of Mines; International Professor of Philosophy of Technology, Renmin University of China; author of Thinking through Technology (1994) and Steps Toward a Philosophy of Engineering (2020)

    "[...]For those long engaged in such multicultural approaches to philosophy of ethics and technology, this volume represents a most welcome and significant contribution, one signaling a new level of engagement across these diverse traditions: it is simply delicious reading to be savored and learned deeply from. For those somewhat newer to these territories, the volume will be especially valuable as a primer in Confucian thought [...]. I simply cannot recommend it strongly enough."

    - Charles M. Ess, Professor Emeritus, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo; author of Digital Media Ethics, 3rd Edition (2020)