Our Apporach

Our approach is characterized by the idea that concrete opportunities and challenges of technological developments are reflected/analyzed against the background of basic ethical theories and examined with regard to their consequences for social and societal processes. In doing so, we draw on empirical and normative approaches and methods from an protestant-theological perspective in a hermeneutically sensitive way in order to identify inter- and transdisciplinary connectable judgments as well as options for action and design. The approach thrives on innovative research and the dialogue with different disciplines as well as social groups and their participation.

Concrete Chances and Challenges

One focus of our research is the ethics of artificial intelligence and biotechnology and their concrete application questions for society. Against the background of theological, philosophical and sociological approaches, we explore ethical opportunities and challenges and their repercussions on legal regulations, social and socio-political processes. This concerns in particular the handling of new technologies such as genome editing, big data analyses, robotics, artificial intelligence and digital twins.

Theory und Concepts

Specific application questions are framed within specific theoretical frameworks. These are based on specific conceptual assumptions. The focus of our research is to examine basic anthropological and ethical concepts - such as self-determination, vulnerability, agency, and trust, which we use in the dialectic of theological and extra-theological theoretical designs. The feedback of these concepts to the respective concrete questions is central here.

Protestant-Theological Premises

Central to our approach is the protestant perspective of a concrete theological ethics. Central premises of Protestant theology such as responsible freedom, contingency, fragmentarity, conflictuality, but also the limited success and the great hopes of human life and its interpretations in relation to the believed God of Israel, form an important backbone for the research on concrete questions of application. Thus, even in an increasingly pluralistic age, it remains important to reference, investigate and understand the underlying moral premises. This requires an approach that proves to be hermeneutically sensitive to interpretations of self and others as well as to secular connectivity.

Empirical and normative research

An important feature of our research is the combination of empirical and critical-normative research. Our goal is to conduct methodologically sophisticated, qualitative empirical studies and to develop theories based on these results that have the power to open up general ethical theories and social problem situations. At the same time, we consider it central for the approach of a concrete ethics to reflect and sharpen theoretical considerations and premises also on empirical phenomena.

Inter- und Transdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinary work requires concrete questions and contexts in which transdisciplinary added value can be created from the respective disciplines. Currently, we collaborate with various disciplines (computer science, law, medical engineering, political science, economics, psychology, philosophy) and medical fields (oncology, rheumatology, stress research, palliative medicine). We publish the results of our research in leading national and international as well as disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals and publishers to enable international and interdisciplinary visibility of the results.

Governance

We understand the approach of concrete ethics as not only reflecting theoretically on the relationship between science and society, but also actively engaging in and contributing to enabling social discourse. At the interface of society and science, our team has a wealth of experiencein different media formats as well as the development and implementation of participatory event formats such as panel discussions or science cafés.

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