The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions is involved in a number of research projects that focus on Center’s mission of educating students as responsible professionals, reflecting on the wider implications of scientific progress, and contributing to the shaping of technology in accordance with fundamental human values.
Neuroethics- On the Interplay Between Neuroscience and Ethics
Funded by the Swiss Cogito Foundation, this two-year project begun in August 2015 seeks to understand the ways in which the brain and behavioral sciences might provide insight into moral and philosophical questions. It is intended to be an interdisciplinary meditation on how we can simultaneously ground philosophical thought in empirical science, and extend scientific findings to their greatest philosophical implications. Rather than directly studying the neural correlates of moral and philosophical judgments, the project aims to develop a theoretical of the scope and limits of such studies. Questions central to the project include:
- How do neuroscientific insights into moral and immoral behavior relate to the actual status of those behaviors as moral or immoral?
- What can studying the way people happen to formulate moral and philosophical judgments teach us about the accuracy of those judgments?
- In what ways have previous researchers exaggerated, overgeneralized, or misinterpreted descriptive findings in neuroscience to suit their normative ethical recommendations?
CSEP will be hosting a workshop as part of this project on April 15-16, 2016, and is accepting abstracts until February 1, 2016.
Ethics Code Collection Redesign
The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) received a $200,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in January 2016 to enhance its highly regarded Ethics Code Collection (ECC). The ECC is a unique resource, comprising a curated collection of over 4,000 ethics codes and guidelines across a range of disciplines for over 40 years. With this generous funding from the MacArthur Foundation, it will serve as a more dynamic global resource for informing ethical decision making in professional, entrepreneurial, scientific, and technological fields, and inform critical research into the advancement of ethical practices in a rapidly changing world. Funding from the MacArthur Foundation will provide the resources to embark on an extensive design strategy to improve the digital ECC, and will include tools such as better keyword search, sorting capabilities, comparisons, and downloading in different formats. Funding will also enable new research on the current and future roles of ethics codes within society, business, and technological innovation.
In February 2013, the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions has received an award of $108,669 to be the participant for the United States in a project funded by the European Commission called “Promoting Global Responsible Research and Social and Scientific Innovation” or ProGReSS. The project, which also includes universities and ethics center from Europe, China, Japan, India, Australia, and South Africa seeks to explore what is meant when we talk about Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) that is, research and innovation which is: a)ethically acceptable, b) is sustainable by avoiding significant adverse effects and b) drives towards the common good, i.e. societal desirability. Dr. Michael Davis and Kelly Laas of the Center will be the primary investigators on this project.
The project will link existing international networks of RRI from all continents with European partners and seek to achieve the following:
1. Link existing international networks of RRI with relevant societal actors on a global scale to focus innovation on societal desirability.
2. Complete a major fact-finding mission comparing science funding strategies and innovation policies in Europe, the US, China, Japan, India, Australia, and South Africa.
3. Advocate a European normative model for RRI globally, using constitutional values as a driver to inform societal desirability.
4. Develop a strategy for fostering the convergence of regional innovation systems at the global level.
This joint project with the National Academy of Engineering's Center for Engineer, Ethics and Society is a collection of resources for scholars and university administrators interested in developing ethics training and instruction programs for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. Funded by the National Science Foundation for five years, the Ethics Education Library, along with the Online Ethics Center, will help educators, researchers, administrators, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and practicing scientists and engineers understand the scope of existing knowledge about both ethics and ethics education in science, mathematics, and engineering. One of the intents of this resource center is to help scholars and institutions meet NSF's implementation of Section 7009 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (America COMPETES) Act by providing easy access to high quality case studies, best practices, and original scholarship in ethics in all of the fields that NSF supports.
You can read more by visiting our past projects page, which has a history of major projects and events held at the Center.