Virtuous Living in a Virtual World

Course Code Offering Department(s) Units & Hours
GFVM1017 REL (3,2,1)
Download the course syllabus

What is the course about?

It will be our concern in this course to bring some weighty questions relying on human self-cultivation and communal virtuous living to bear on the fast paced and growing technological environment known as the internet or “world-wide web”. We will do so by reviewing and critically rethinking the history of the emergence of this virtual environment. These reflections will lead us to face problems which include the “digital divide” and government policies of censorship, as well as new forms of personal threat and violence, including such problems as cyber-bullying, blackmailing, extensive plagiarism, cyber-stalking, cyber-espionage, and cyberporn. As a consequence of these online phenomena, there are children and adults who chose to withdraw from normal social life and become immersed into internet-created virtual relationships, including those referred to as hikikomori (引き籠もり) and “disengaged youth”(隱蔽青年). Others employ avatars to act out scenes that would be considered completely unacceptable in normal life, but are now possible options particularly in China, such as those involved with online vigilante systems, the so-called rénròu sōusuǒ 人肉搜索or “human flesh search [engines]”. As a consequence, some become compulsively addicted to these virtual activities, and lose their senses of propriety, faithfulness, righteousness, compassion and wisdom. All these and other related issues occurring in new virtual worlds as experienced in our 21st century mediated environments will be critically addressed within this course.


Notes for all GE courses

  • You can take a maximum of 6 additional units of GE courses from any categories as electives.