CfP: Science Ethics- (Inter-) Disciplinary Perspectives


Call for Papers for Thematic Issue on


Editors: Ronald J. Pohoryles, Alice BM Vadrot, and Thomas Pfister


In May 2013, UNESCO hosted an interdisciplinary expert conference on Emerging Ethical Issues in Science and Technology under the aegis of the of the 8th Ordinary Session of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). COMEST was set up by UNESCO in 1993 to reflect on the many different aspects of science ethics and to formulate ethical principles which could provide decision-makers with criteria extending beyond purely economic considerations. Whilst everybody would agree in principle that such an endeavour is important, there is not yet enough clarity about what this might mean in practice and what different challenges this might pose to different disciplines against the background of a globalizing world. Since its foundation in 1986, INNOVATION-The European Journal of Social Science Research has been concerned with different aspects of scientific knowledge production and use in different areas of innovation and social contexts. We have published special issues to contribute to related debates in different areas, such as Converging Science and Technologies: Research Trajectories and Institutional Settings in 2007, E-Inclusion and E-Government- Challenges and Policies in 2008, Sociology and Interdisciplinarity in 2009, Steering Biomedicine: Regulatory Dynamics of Therapeutic Technologies in the European Union in 2012, and Privacy and Technology in 2013. Assuming that ‘innovation is not just a technical and economic problem’ (Pohoryles 1988; Vadrot 2011), but enmeshed in social acceptance and politico-institutional change, it is inevitably linked to science ethics.

Against this background, this special issue aims at providing a platform for extending the debate on science ethics within the social science communities in a more systematic and overarching way. The aim is to shed light on the many different facets of science ethics alongside different scientific disciplines, methods and practices.  In addition to these important ethical and political questions posed by science and technology to contemporary societies, more specific ethical institutions, rules and codes specify the conditions of scientific integrity; define violations, their consequences as well as the institutions responsible for governing research ethics within the academic community.  The question of how to govern scientific knowledge within the margins of scientific freedom and social responsibility is a tricky one, particularly, because the way in which knowledge might impact on the many different aspects of human life and the environments within which we life, often remains unpredictable und fuzzy.

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