International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Breathing Time – An ethics blog

The IZEW is concerned with the whole range of application-related ethical questions. While in the past the focus was solely on aspects of the pandemic, in the future the blog will shed light on the entire diversity of ethically relevant social developments and challenges. In addition to fundamental questions of ethics in the sciences and humanities, the spectrum ranges from ethics and education to social value questions of culture and technological change to questions of effective natural conditions and sustainable development. The blog sees itself as a source of inspiration for a broad social discussion on the multifaceted question of justice and the good life. In this sense, the aim is to give a concise and comprehensible look at ethical questions from current research or new challenges arising from social developments and thus provide an insight into what it means to deal with normative and value conflicts. In doing so, the inter- and transdisciplinarity of ethics in the sciences and humanities will continue to be both the starting point and the goal, so that the ethically relevant questions that arise for scientific and other social contexts find a place here.

Regina Ammicht Quinn and Thomas Potthast

This blog is intended to stimulate discourses, in this sense we welcome suggestions, criticism and letters from readers. You can use the contact form for this purpose.

Responsible for the publication of the articles are the editorial staff: Cora Bieß, Martin Hennig, Vanessa Weihgold and Katharina Wezel.


13 October 2022

Care and research goals

The growing mediatization of childhood is leading to a shift of children's worlds of experience to the Internet. At the same time, children are often alone and unsupervised on the Internet. As a result, safety hazards such as cyberbullying, cybergrooming, disinformation, or hate and incitement can impair children's development. But how can online communication be made safer and more participatory for children through research?


02 September 2022

"Use" or "application" of technologies?

Innovative technologies should not only be of the highest technical standard, but also have a positive impact on society. However, it is noticeable that in technology development, when talking about people, the term "users" is still used, even though a shift in perspective to people as users could bring advantages.


19 July 2022

Why ethics needs anger

Anger has a bad reputation. Ethics too often too. At first glance, all the similarities seem to be listed. Rational and sober ethical reflection does not immediately go hand in hand with the strong emotion of anger and rage. I would like to plead for not separating productive, appropriate anger from ethical science, because in order to irritate and change, ethics also needs anger.


24 June 2022

Small Businesses in Lockdowns

In the last two years, people all over the world have experienced an exceptional crisis. The COVID-19-pandemic forced us among other things to social distancing: less face-to-face meetings with other people, working or schooling from home, wearing masks that cover facial expressions… The center of Tübingen – normally crowded with tourists and students from all over the world having a drink on the stairs in front of the town hall or the Stiftskirche, eating in one of the many small restaurants or just walking around and enjoying the beautiful architecture – was suddenly empty.


10 March 2022

Reflection on the logic of peace

In recent days, speeches by politicians, as well as rallies, editorials and interviews, have often referred to the "first war in Europe in 75 years". After the criticism of this quickly became audible, some statements changed to formulations such as "the first war of aggression on European soil", "turning point" or "the end of the peace order in Europe". Others, such as Josef Joffe in Die Zeit, stick to "77 years of peace" in Europe, which has now been ended by Putin (Die Zeit 03/03/2022: 11). The following article reflects on the extent to which such narratives fuel conflict and are ethically problematic.



Digital Education for SD?!

The immense challenges and opportunities of sustainable development (SD) - from biodiversity and climate crises to new forms of economic activity and sufficiency-oriented lifestyles - are omnipresent. The central question is how people and their environment can live together and shape society today in order to create livable conditions worldwide today and in the future (cf. KNE 2020). At the Competence Center for Sustainable Development (KNE) at the University of Tübingen we asked ourselves how education (for sustainable development) can also be designed digitally in such a way that these perspectives become tangible for students and they themselves discover ways and possibilities to become active.


19 september 2022

Integrated Research

Science, even if it strives for neutrality and objectivity, never takes place free of context. As a practice, it is embedded in various social, structural, societal, institutional, historical, political, epistemic and other contexts. The project ESTER (Ethical and Social Aspects of Integrated Research), located at the IZEW, investigates aspects especially of scientific practice in third-party funded technology development projects, in which it is an explicit goal to include ethical, legal and social aspects. Integrated Research is a federal funding approach that supports such projects.


08 July 2022

The Ukraine war on TikTok

As digitization continues, conflict dynamics and perspectives on war are also changing. This is especially true for social media, which have taken on a central role in communicating about conflict, but also as a site where conflict is played out. These effects have been particularly visible since the war of aggression on Ukraine: for example, the New York Times refers to it as the "TikTok War." The following article will explain how the Ukraine war on TikTok may increase the risk for the creation of further deepfakes as a weapon of war.


29 March 2022

Digital solutions for dementia

Dementia and digitization are both complex fields and politically, economically and emotionally charged topics. Both put our understanding of what it means to be human to the test. Currently, politics and care are exploring the potential of digital solutions for challenges with dementia. The aim is to strike a balance between opportunities and risks. That sounds good. But it's not enough. Because opportunities and risks cannot simply be balanced out. Participation in technological progress would require other approaches. Digital technologies only develop their potential in well-equipped care settings. And self-determined use of technology must be rethought and continually produced for dementia and digitization.


25 April 2022

Racial violence of climate change 

In popular discourse, climate change is usually framed as an ‘environmental issue’ – a matter of ‘saving the planet’ or caring for nature. It is also about people, about justice, and about power. And when we pause to look at who is most affected, there is a clear racial dimension. Climate change can be understood as violence against people of colour, and seeing it in that way gives a new urgency to climate action.