Moral Discernment in an Age of Complex Technology

24 August 2018

Moral Discernment in an Age of Complex Technology

This is one of three inspiring courses offered in ETF’s Summer Colloquium, scheduled August 19–24, 2019. This international study week includes lectures, various workshops and times for meeting and reflection.Registration is open until 1 June 2019.

Technological developments affect our lives in increasing ways. More than just a process of forming tools that we use, technology has lately begun to influence how we perceive the world around us. While technology has given us much, it also presents us with a moral ambivalence which shows up for example in the application of nanotechnology, genetically modified foods, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Although this ambiguity is not new, current developments are having a greater impact than earlier, affecting our perceptions of ourselves as human beings, as well as our views on society, values and truth.

Faced with this ambiguity, therefore, we need to develop a Christian moral view on technological developments. This course will contribute to that by highlighting key features of the current technological context and considering different philosophical reflections on technology formulated by Hans Jonas, Jacques Ellul, Egbert Schuurman, and Ian Barbour, among others. Based on these, key elements for a Christian ethics of technology will be identified, in particular by drawing on the notion of responsibility. For this, we will appeal to Christian authors offering theological perspectives on responsibility, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Schweiker, among others.

The course does not assume training in technology; it is suitable for anyone interested in thinking about current issues in the philosophy and ethics of technology from a Christian perspective.

Steven van den Heuvel



Dr. STEVEN C. VAN DEN HEUVEL is Postdoctoral Researcher in Systematic Theology at ETF Leuven.


ETF’s Summer Colloquium in August 2019 features three inspiring courses which intersect theology, church and society. The two other courses are:

This international study week includes lectures, various workshops and times for meeting and reflection. Our Summer Colloquium is compulsory for ETF Open University students open to interested people with academic qualifications and can serve as additional in-service training for pastors, teachers, and other ministry professionals.


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