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Moving from value sensitive design to virtuous practice design

Wessel Reijers (Robert Schuman Centre, European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy)
Bert Gordijn (Institute of Ethics, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 10 June 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to develop a critique of value sensitive design (VSD) and to propose an alternative approach that does not depart from a heuristic of value(s), but from virtue ethics, called virtuous practice design (VPD).


This paper develops a philosophical argument, draws from a philosophical method (i.e. virtue ethics) and applies this method to a particular case study that draws from a narrative interview.


In this paper, authors show how an approach that takes virtue instead of value as the central notion for aiming at a design that is sensitive to ethical concerns can be fruitful both in theory and in practice.


This paper presents the first attempt to ground an approach aimed at ethical technology design on the tradition of virtue ethics. As such, it presents VPD as a potentially fruitful alternative to VSD.



Funding: This research is partly funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant Agreement No 716350).


Reijers, W. and Gordijn, B. (2019), "Moving from value sensitive design to virtuous practice design", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 196-209.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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