Platform 4 ‘Education – Society – Norms – Ethical reflection’ is part of the Institutional Strategy of the University of Tübingen within the framework of the Excellence Initiative. This platform is intended to link the Tübingen Social Sciences’ and Humanities’ expertise into one competence network and, accordingly, is thematically and institutionally widely represented. It comprises members of the Philosophy Faculty, the Economic and Social Sciences Faculty, the Faculty of Law, the Protestant Theology Faculty, the Catholic Theology Faculty, as well as the Centre for Islamic Theology. Additionally, cross- and interfaculty institutions such as the Global Ethic Institute and the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities are also involved. Independent institutions such as the Knowledge Media Research Center are also participating.
Platform 4’s goal is to initiate new research directions that draw upon the variety of disciplines and interdisciplinarity and which are within the guidelines of the University of Tübingen’s application for Excellence: Research – Relevance – Responsibility. Accordingly, Platform 4 particularly values application-oriented questions with social relevance. Platform 4 can also access the strength of the Tübingen social sciences research especially for the comparison of social, cultural and religious-ideological systems and their influence on the development of social norms and ethical values. Furthermore, the Platform offers a place where principle questions of relevance and application-orientiation of sciences at the University can be reflected upon.
Measures undertaken include on the one hand appointing both junior and visiting professorships as well as junior research groups and on the other hand making ‘exploration funds’ available for identifying new topics which are orientated on the Platform’s scientific focal point and on possible links for further university and independent partners.
Platform 4 is underpinned by existing institutions and projects. The scientific processing of socially relevant topics has already been rooted in the teaching in the Social and Human Sciences at the University of Tübingen. In recent years, in accordance with the policy objectives of the Future Concept the University of Tübingen has actively strengthened the areas which develop new fields of competence, complementing the existing areas of research and teaching. With the assistance of the Innovation Fund and the 2012 development plans the Empirical Education Research, the Education Sciences, Sociology, Political Sciences, the Cognition Sciences and the Media Sciences could create innovative core areas with numerous new professorships. With these measures and the setting up of a Centre for Islamic Theology the University of Tübingen has demonstrated itself to be a Centre of Competence for social and human sciences with a considerable breadth of disciplines.