Huff Reviews Vallor, Technology and the Virtues

This book is notable for drawing on multiple traditions of thought about virtue, including Confucianism and Buddhism…

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2017.04.20 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Shannon Vallor, Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting, Oxford University Press, 2016, 309pp., $39.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780190498511.

Reviewed by Benjamin I. Huff, Randolph-Macon College

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New Book: Vallor, Technology and the Virtues

Shannon Vallor, Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford, 2016) has just been published; information here. The book draws on Aristotelian, Confucian, and Buddhist virtue ethics as it explores a path toward a “future worth living.”


Analects 1.6, and how Confucius envisioned moral progress

Confucius’ remark at Analects 1.6 is often cited to show that he thought proper moral development begins with filial piety and then extends that attitude to ever-larger groups of people (ever less intensely).  I shall argue that the remark does not display such a view.  Confucius did not in general envision moral progress as extension.

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Call for short essays on new International Blog “Varieties of Well-Being”

Owen Flanagan and Wenqing Zhao write…

As part of our Templeton-St. Louis funded “Varieties of Well-Being” project, Owen Flanagan and Wenqing Zhao are inaugurating an international blog on well-being in different cultural traditions. We desire to engage in public outreach and to advance the cause of cross-cultural philosophy of well-being. In addition, we seek to help create a passion among people in and outside academia for learning from, not just about, other traditions. An international blog on comparative well-being is designed to share the fruit of the project with broader, international audiences.

We hereby invite you, as someone with experience of multicultural worlds, to write a short essay (200-450 words) on well-being that involves a comparative or cross-cultural aspect. It can be based on your own cultural experience or something that you have observed; a story, a moment or a piece of thought that showcases the variety of cultural norms for living a good life. Details follow below!

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Did Confucius think our virtues are contagious?

Did Confucius think that if one of us has general virtue, or some particular virtue such as courage or filial piety, that general or particular virtue will have a substantial tendency to spread directly to the people around her, even if she holds no government position?

Here I’ll survey Confucius’ statements in the Analects and conclude that the answer is No. Confucius probably did not hold that view.  (I gave the opposite reading in both my published papers on Chinese philosophy.)

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Foust Reviews Virtue Ethics and Confucianism

Mat Foust has published a review of Stephen C. Angle and Michael Slote, eds., Virtue Ethics and Confucianism (Routledge, 2013) in the Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies. The full text of the review is available on-line here (look for “Book Review 4”). Thanks, Mat!

Opportunities Related to “Intellectual Humility”

With the support of the John Templeton Foundation, and subject to a final grant agreement, the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute announces a funding proposal competition of $2 million dollars to support interdisciplinary research projects on intellectual humility and its role in promoting meaningful public discourse. The deadline for letters of intent is May 1st 2016

Topical areas of focus include both the barriers that prevent people from engaging in constructive, reason-based dialogue, conducted with intellectual humility, regarding culturally divisive issues, as well as scalable models or other interventions that may be effective or ineffective in promoting this sort of talk. 

In addition, applications are being accepted for both residential and non-residential fellowships for work relevant to the project’s aims. The deadline for residential fellowship applications is April 15th 2016; non-residential fellowship applications will be considered on a rolling basis. 

Full details can be found at:

Review of new book in Comparative Ethics

I was intrigued by Brandon Warmke’s recent review in NDPR of Judith Andre’s book Worldly Virtue: Moral Ideals and Contemporary Life. Apparently Andre makes considerable (and self-aware) use of Buddhist ideas as she argues that “the realities of our contemporary world require us both to re-interpret traditional virtues and to recognize new ones altogether.” Take a look!

Review of new book on virtue with Chinese perspectives

Erica Lucast Stonestreet’s review at NDPR of Nancy E. Snow (ed.), Cultivating Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology (Oxford University Press, 2015) highlights Ted Slingerland’s contribution to the volume, nicely bringing Chinese philosophy into this broader conversation.

New Book: Ethics in Public Life in Asia

Kenneth Winston of Harvard’s Kennedy School writes:

I am pleased to announce the publication of my book “Ethics in Public Life:  Good Practitioners in a Rising Asia” from Palgrave Macmillan.  The book is a set of five case studies of practitioners in different Asian countries making life-defining decisions in their work.  They include a doctor in Singapore, a political activist in India, a mid-level bureaucrat in central Asia, a religious missionary in China, and a journalist in Cambodia—each struggling with ethical challenges that shed light on what it takes to act effectively and well in public life.

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