Wang Xiaowei, associate professor at Renmin University of China (RUC), will give a lecture entitled “Towards a Confucian Ethics of Technology” at 16:00-17:30 on Oct. 20. The lecture is the fourth one of the English Lecture Series: Chinese Philosophy and Modern Perspectives 2023, co-hosted by the School of Philosophy, RUC, and the Institute for Advanced International Philosophy Studies. The lecture will be held in Room 0301 in the Lide Building. Participants can also attend online through Tencent Meeting (ID: 975-9641-3826).
Abstract: With advancements in AI and gene-editing tools, modern technologies empower us in unprecedented ways. However, due to their disruptive nature, these globally deployed technologies also present significant challenges for humanity. Philosophers aim to develop frameworks to understand the advantages and disadvantages of modern technology, emphasizing the central role of ethical deliberation. The Ethics of Technology typically functions as a sub-field of ethics. As an area of applied ethics, it draws on classic ethical theories—virtue ethics, utilitarianism, deontology, and others—to analyze technological risks. Many scholars advocate for diversifying the ethical discourse by incorporating non-western ethics, including Confucianism and Buddhism, to foster a more inclusive discussion. Notably, Joel Kupperman describes mainstream ethics as "big moment ethics"—primarily focusing on singular decisions, often overlooking daily, context-driven ethical challenges. Kupperman believes Confucianism, with its focus on continual self-improvement, can complement "big moment ethics" by offering an alternative perspective centered on everyday life. In this lecture, we will present the first-ever defense of a Confucian ethic of technology, discussing its general principles and relevance.
Introduction: Wang Xiaowei is an associate professor at Renmin University. His research and teaching interests intersect science, technology, and ethics.