66 – Wong on Confucianism, Robots and Moral Deskillling

Pak-Hang Wong

In this episode I talk to Dr Pak-Hang Wong. Pak is a philosopher of technology and works on ethical and political issues of emerging technologies. He is currently a research associate at the Universitat Hamburg. He received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Twente in 2012, and then held academic positions in Oxford and Hong Kong. In 2017, he joined the Research Group for Ethics in Information Technology, at the Department of Informatics, Universitat Hamburg. We talk about the robotic disruption of morality and how it affects our capacity to develop moral virtues. Pak argues for a distinctive Confucian approach to this topic and so provides something of a masterclass on Confucian virtue ethics in the course of our conversation.

You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).

Show Notes

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2:56 – How do robots disrupt our moral lives?
  • 7:18 – Robots and Moral Deskilling
  • 12:52 – The Folk Model of Virtue Acquisition
  • 21:16 – The Confucian approach to Ethics
  • 24:28 – Confucianism versus the European approach
  • 29:05 – Confucianism and situationism
  • 34:00 – The Importance of Rituals
  • 39:39 – A Confucian Response to Moral Deskilling
  • 43:37 – Criticisms (moral silencing)
  • 46:48 – Generalising the Confucian approach
  • 50:00 – Do we need new Confucian rituals?

Relevant Links


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