The Ethics of Ordinary Technology: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Ethics of Ordinary Technology

1st Edition

By Michel Puech


230 pages

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Technology is even more than our world, our form of life, our civilization. Technology interacts with the world to change it. Philosophers need to seriously address the fluidity of a smartphone interface, the efficiency of a Dyson vacuum cleaner, or the familiar noise of an antique vacuum cleaner. Beyond their phenomenological description, the emotional experience acquires moral significance and in some cases even supplies ethical resources for the self. If we leave this dimension of modern experience unaddressed, we may miss something of value in contemporary life.

Combining European humanism, Anglophone pragmatism, and Asian traditions, Michel Puech pleads for an "ethical turn" in the way we understand and address technological issues in modern day society. Puech argues that the question of "power" is what needs to be reconsidered today. In doing so, he provides a three-tier distinction of power: power to modify the outer world (our first-intention method in any case: technology); power over other humans (our enduring obsession: politics and domination); power over oneself (ethics and wisdom).


'The culture of technology needs moral guidance, the philosophy of technology needs new life. Michel Puech’s book gives us both' - Albert Borgmann, University of Montana, USA

'The question of how to live a good life—a pressing question for any thoughtful person—has taken on a particular urgency as the pace of technological change increasingly configures the world we wake up to every day. In this bold, lucid work, Michel Puech proposes approaching this question by looking to a realm traditionally neglected by many philosophers as worthy of serious attention: ordinary life itself. Deftly supporting his analysis with his extensive knowledge of diverse philosophical traditions, Puech brings the familiar world of everyday "micro-actions", such as texting, driving, and making coffee, before our eyes in a fresh light, showing how they can promote flourishing without promoting complacency or preventing resistance to technology when appropriate. Written in a spirit of intellectual joy, this is an important volume not only for ethicists and philosophers of technology, but for all with an inquiring mind.' - Diane P. Michelfelder, Macalester College, USA

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Technoethics

2. Technosapiens: The Coevolution of Nature, Humankind, and Technology

3. Ordinary Technologies and Ethical Significance

4. The Self in the Age of Pervasive Technology

5. Deep Sustainability and Personal Microactions

6. Ordinary Wisdom in the Technosphere

About the Author

Michel Puech is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Paris-Sorbonne University, France. His current work focuses on the notion of modern wisdom, combining philosophy of technology, applied ethics, and Asian schools of thought.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society

Books in this series consider social science aspects of science studies. Authors discuss how science is socially situated and mediated, how science and technology are shaped by society and society by science and technology. Books will consider the social impact of new technologies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Science & Technology Policy