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Technology and the VirtuesA Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting$
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Shannon Vallor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498511.001.0001

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Virtue Ethics, Technology, and Human Flourishing

Virtue Ethics, Technology, and Human Flourishing

(p.17) 1 Virtue Ethics, Technology, and Human Flourishing
Technology and the Virtues

Shannon Vallor

Oxford University Press

Starting with an overview of virtue ethics in the philosophical tradition of the West, beginning with Aristotle, I discuss the contemporary revival of virtue ethics in the West (and its critics). In reviewing virtue ethics’ advantages over other traditional ethical approaches, especially consequentialism (such as utilitarianism) and deontology (such as Kantian ethics), I note that virtue ethics is ideally suited for managing complex, novel, and unpredictable moral landscapes, just the kind of landscape that today’s emerging technologies present. Yet I also note that an exclusively Western approach to virtue would be inadequate and provincial; moreover, emerging technologies present global problems requiring collective action across cultural and political lines. Finally, I review the various ways in which contemporary philosophers of technology have addressed the ethical dimensions of technology, the limits of those previous approaches, and the potential of a global technosocial virtue ethic to go beyond them.

Keywords:   virtue ethics, Aristotle, philosophy of technology, Immanuel Kant, utilitarianism, deontology, emerging technologies

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