Ethics and Theology: Innovation and Transformation in Community Contexts

Article excerpt

Ethics and Theology: Innovation and Transformation in Community Contexts, by John Hart. Pilgrim Press, Cleveland, 1997. 174 pp. $14.95. ISBN 0-8298-1222-9.

IN THIS BOOK HART OFFERS a communitarian perspective on technological innovation. Contending that technology has disproportionately served corporations, he argues that our loyalties need to be enlarged to include the interests of the entire community or environment. This communal context yields a corrective analysis of the use of technology in light of its proper goal of furthering the common good. Loyalty to the common good requires the ordering of needs before wants, which in turn ought to determine the responsibilities and rights of individuals and groups. The failure to live by the needs-before-wants criterion explains the disparity between the affluent and the impoverished. Hart finds spiritual resources for such a vision in sources including Christianity, Islam, and humanism, contending that a communitarian ethic may be grounded in either sacred or secular traditions. In the process he asserts both the particularity of traditions as well as the possible overlapping of traditions. …