Living Well Together Online: Digital Wellbeing from a Confucian Perspective

Matthew Dennis, Elena Ziliotti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The impact of social media technologies (SMTs) on digital wellbeing has become an increasingly important puzzle for ethicists of technology. In this article, we explain why individualised theories of digital wellbeing (DWB) can only solve part of this puzzle. While an individualised conception of DWB is useful for understanding online self-regulation, we contend that we must seek greater understanding of how SMTs connect us. To build an account of this, we locate the conceptual resources for our account in Confucian ethics. In contrast to individualised conceptions of human flourishing that are found in the Western tradition, Confucian thinkers strongly emphasise that individuals cannot flourish alone, but need wider social structures (partner, family, society, nation). Not only do strands of Confucian ethics explain how individuals are defined by the roles they take up in relationships, but this perspective also makes practical suggestions for how these roles can be cultivated. We conclude our article by identifying the Confucian notions that seem to have most promise for the future design of SMTs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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