“Tool Without A Handle: Spirituality, Virtue, and Technology Ethics”
By Chuck Cosson on October 24, 2020 at 3:42 pm
A review of Shannon Vallor’s excellent book Technology and the Virtues, which details perspectives on virtue from Aristotle, Confucius, and Buddhist perspectives, suggests the inquiry would benefit from engagement with Christian Neo-Platonic and derivative perspectives. I agree, though here I extend the engagement to a more general set of Christian perspectives on virtue.
To do this, a Christianity emphasizing humility is preferable to one emphasizing difference and retribution. The goal is to be a candle, not a torch. This Christianity is well aware humans are often guided more by mental shortcuts than by objective analysis and rational choice. The “ego is the enemy” as one author put it. Which is to say, importantly, that the person is not the enemy; the person is not the problem.
Within each person, of any status, race, sexual or gender identity, age, or religious practice, is the divine and the good. I think it’s a mistake to place blame on what technology is “doing to us.” In the “software” of our DNA is a superior human capacity, one that can hear divine goodness. Rather than ignore it and treat humans as inexorably enslaved to our prejudices, a principle of virtue should aim at not only changes in technology design but also at defining a social consensus of personal accountability to emotional growth. Read more about “Tool Without A Handle: Spirituality, Virtue, and Technology Ethics”