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Welcome to the Centre for Applied Ethics and research environment Applied Ethics

The last decades we have seen a growing interest in ethics and in applied ethics in particular. There are many reasons for this. One is that we face new ethical challenges.

  • Computerisation and information technology is changing our society in different ways. How can we master the new technology so that it doesn’t, perhaps in an unnoticed way, go out of control?

  • The scientist is able to collect more and more personal information in registers. How should we balance the value of new knowledge and the right to privacy?

  • In a drive for efficiency, animals are reared in an industrial manner. Do we have moral obligations also towards animals?

  • New technologies in medicine make it possible to save premature babies as well as prolong the life for the elderly. Is it possible to draw a line between living and letting die?

  • Genetic testing makes it possible to detect hereditary diseases. Where is the limit for a responsible way of handling this information? These new possibilities in medicine, combined with scarcity of resources, raise the question of priorities: Who is going to get the medical treatment?

  • Politics seems more and more "colonialised" by economic rationality. How can we design an ethical theory that is relevant for the political sphere?

  • Through globalisation people come closer to each other and national borders become less important. But what norms should govern the new globalised world?

Certainly, not all of us face the "big" moral issues. In everyday life, in the private or in professional practice, we meet other people and we find ourselves in morally difficult situations. This "commonplace-ethics" needs also consideration and due reflection.

Some people think that there are easy answers to these questions or that we need new gurus who can give us the answers. Contrary to this, we think that the new ethical challenges we face in today’s world require new fora for dialogue and reflection. Different positions have to be identified and the arguments critically examined.

The public discussion on moral issues in our pluralistic societies can be compared to a wild garden plot. There are a lot of ideas, there are plants with deep roots, as well as new fragile plants. But there is also a need for some gardening, some weeding and some structuring. Perhaps this is the task of the ethicist: the ethicist as a gardener?

The Centre for Applied Ethics is a part of Linköping University. Here, researchers and teachers unite in order to work together on the new ethical issues. The research projects cover different issues in applied ethics like computer ethics, research ethics, ethics and politics, animal and environmental ethics, ethics and genetic engineering and ethics and globalisation.

We offer various courses in ethics and applied ethics. The centre also cooperates with ethical centres and departments in Sweden and abroad. Presently, we offer a master's programme in applied ethics in English.

Page manager: monica.wise@liu.se
Last updated: 2016-09-13