Recently published article: Competition within Technology. A Study of Competitive Thought and Moral Growth.

A new text published by Jani Pulkki and Veli-Matti Värri In Heikkurinen, P. and Ruuska, T. (eds.) Sustainability beyond Technology: Philosophy, Critique, and Implications for Human Organization. Oxford University Press.

Our text consist of a philosophical investigation of competition and its adverse effects on human moral growth. We consider competition as a Heideggerian technology, a mechanism which ‘enframes’ our thoughts, feelings, and presuppositions about possible solutions to the ecocrisis.

The history of competitive thought is scrutinized in terms of violent and mechanistically perceived human nature, evolutive mechanism, and the struggle for existence. Furthermore, economic ideas of scarcity, insatiable wants and needs, freedom, and merits are seen to be important features of defining what competition is. Competition is defined as the pursuit of scarce resources in a free society, and all major defining concepts of competition are put under critical scrutiny.

The simplest way of putting the problematics of moral growth is to note how competitive social interaction creates morally problematic habits of character, such as abstaining from empathy and helping. The ideas of deserving and merit, for example, work also as vehicles for suppressing moral motivations: losers deserve their unfortunate state because of their lack of effort, laziness, and lack of talent.

Perhaps the chief problem of competition in terms of moral growth is the pursuit of supremacy. The pursuit of superiority is normalized and de-politicized through a technological understanding of competition. A crucial aspect of the pursuit of superiority is the intention and calculation to outdo others.

Competition also leads to the hardening of moral subjectivity. Moral subjectivity is hardened through the recurring suppression of empathy in competition. Instead of hardening the moral subject, ecosocial transformation of our society needs to foster sensual, empathetic, and perceptive capabilities that enable understanding different life forms and caring for them.

A link to the text here.