What is a “good life”?

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Have you ever wondered if too much technology is good for you? Or rather, if technology is good at all? In this scholarly article by Edward H. Spence, he discusses whether technology is good for us in a more definitive and philosophical way. A way that most of us probably haven’t considered yet. Spence starts off by defining his terms, such as “good life”, “eudaimonia”, and “wisdom” to give his audience a sense of what he is using to base his findings on whether technology is good or not. He says that a good life may include, “first-order technologies such as computers, for example” (340). This  shows that simple things such as computers can lead to a good life since it aids in productivity and makes life simpler. In short, Spence comes to the conclusion that technology leads to eudaimonia, which is the state of good spirit, and that in turn leads to wisdom. And by achieving both, “ [it] informs the conception of a good life and directs its active pursuit for the attainment of eudaimonia, is an essential condition for both the conception and the attainment of a good life” (340). Since all of the above is obtained, then technology is good and contributes to a good life. In one of my previous posts, I’ve discussed whether too much technology is good or bad for us in a more confined area of technology, and came to the conclusion that too much is bad for us.

After reading this article, I realized that I was just thinking on a more specific level of technology, such as technology used in school/education. I wasn’t thinking about technology in a more theoretical and philosophical way as Spence did. When I was doing research on a specific category of technology, I often time come to a conclusion that it is negative. And I would bring that same type of mindset into the next research relating to technology, which would lead me to think about more of negatives about that technology than positives. If this continued, I would eventually make myself believe that technology is bad. Spence does something so simple such as defining his terms of what a “good life” is and uses that to determine whether technology is good or not. But he does this in a way where he brings the conversation to a deeper level.

Although the points that Spence makes are good, I feel as if the reasons are too “definition based”. Defining your terms is key in writing, but Spence does it in a way where it feels a bit forced because he is trying to prove that technology around us leads to a good life. Spence is trying to connect all these thoughts together just by using definitions. In a way, he is using the transitive property in math, which says, “If a=b, b=c, then a=c” to make his point. Though using definitions to prove a point is not easy, Spence should have provided research data to further support his outlook on technology. For the most part, the reasons Spence brings up are valid and pertain to most of us. To summarize Spence’s paper in a sentence, one could easily say, “Technology makes our lives easier and is good for us”.

 

Works Cited

Spence, Edward H. “Is Technology Good for Us? A Eudaimonic Meta-Model for Evaluating the Contributive Capability of Technologies for a Good Life.”Nanoethics 5.3 (2011): 335-43. ProQuest. 5 Mar. 2016 .

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2 comments

  1. Pingback: Extra Readings! | Technology
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