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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 13, Issue 3, Fall 2009

George Teschner, Alessandro Tomasi
Pages 190-205

Technological Paradigm in Ancient Taoism

Heidegger, Winner, and Ellul's critiques of Western technology focus on a notion of efficiency that subordinates to itself all non-instrumental values. An alternative conception of efficiency is proposed based on the Taoist theory of non-action (wu-wei). The ancient Taoist text, The Chuang Tzu, reveals a type of efficiency that is effective, resourceful, and entrepreneurial. It is a form of action which has an intimate rather than alienated relation to technology, and which is sensitive to the ethical and aesthetic values that Heidegger and Ellul claim are excluded from the Western conception of efficiency.

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