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

Research Focuses

Research at the Department of Society, Culture and Technological Change focuses on four research areas characterised by a high degree of interdisciplinarity and a close cooperation among the researchers.

Research Focus Security Ethics

The research focus on security ethics, which is unique in Germany, was launched in 2006 following an increasing research interest in the future requirements of aviation security. By dealing with ethical issues such as the use of body scanners, surveillance and video tracking, the foundation was laid for a systematic examination of value-related issues in the context of security actions. This ethical expertise has further been incorporated into numerous projects of German and European research. Currently, in addition to an ethical monitoring of technology development, researchers at the research focus are also working on projects that take a critical look at security in the social contexts.

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Current Projects Security Ethics

  • FLORIDA: Flexible, semi-automatic Analysis System for the Evaluation of Mass Video Data
  • HEIMDALL: Multi-Hazard Cooperative Management Tool for Data Exchange, Response Planning and Scenario Building Project description
  • KOPHIS: Strengthening the context of people in need of care and/or help
  • Participation in the organisation of the Postgraduate Network ‘Civil Security’ of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
  • A list of completed projects can be found in the archive section.

Research Focus Media Ethics and Information Technology

We live in a digital society that is in constant transformation. Shaping such a society requires asking questions about its underlying values and norms. The Ethics Centre’s research focus on Media Ethics and Information Technology within the department of Society, Culture and Technological Change addresses these value questions. It conducts research on the ethics of a digital society from an interdisciplinary perspective, incorporating insights from both Information Ethics and Media Ethics. Core philosophical concepts concerning the ethics of a digital society examined within the research focus include data privacy, questions of global informational justice and development, and journalism ethics.

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Current Projects Media Ethics and IT

Research Focus Technology Ethics

Technology is not only the result of scientific and engineering progress. Rather, technology and society influence, constitute and shape each other. From this perspective, the development of new technologies is a social process, in which also empirical assumptions on social realities, images of humanity and concepts of a “good life” play a vital role. Furthermore, the use of technology is an active, at times even resistive process of appropriation taking place in complex socio-technical arrangements.

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Current Projects Technology Ethics

  • INTEGRAM: Integrated research: A critical analysis and practical dissemination for the research area “Human-technology interaction”
  • KoBeLU: A context-aware learning environment for education and vocational training
  • HEIMDALL: Multi-Hazard Cooperative Management Tool for Data Exchange, Response Planning and Scenario Building
  • FLORIDA: Flexible, semi-automatic Analysis System for the Evaluation of Mass Video Data
  • NIKA: User-centred interaction design for context-sensitive and acceptable robots
  • A list of completed projects can be found in the archive section.

Research Focus Social Cohesion

“Good” social coexistence requires not only a certain degree of value consensus (to be determined and discussed in more detail), but also the constant negotiation of value conflicts. Value conflicts are not per se negative and dangerous for societal cohesion: They can also be understood to form the basis of a stable pluralistic society. Ethical analyses identify explicit and implicit conflicts of values within exemplary fields of action and explore the potential of these conflicts for societal cohesion without taking the latter for granted.

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Current Projects Social Cohesion

  • PODESTA: Populism and Democracy in the City