Associated Projects

The Centre for Advanced Study in Bioethics is intended to act as a centre of gravity for its research topics within and beyond the University of Münster. The following projects are associated with the Centre:

Anthropology and Normativity

Kurt Bayertz / Neil Roughley et al.

The working group "Anthropology and Normativity" is designed as an interdisciplinary and international forum, which in addition to philosophers comprises representatives of various empirical disciplines (including psychology, primatology, ethnology). Its special interest is the relationship between the biological 'nature' of man and his social and cultural existence. The focus is on the question about the natural foundations of social intelligence of man, as well as the phylogenetic and ontogenetic emergence of (social, linguistic, moral and aesthetic) norms.

Political Philosophy as a Resource of Justification of Norms in Biomedical Ethics

Alena Buyx

The Emmy Noether Research Groups looks across a number of issues and discussions in bioethics and examines how political philosophy has played out in these areas. Based on this horizontal analysis, it seeks to develop well-argued policy proposals for ongoing bioethical debates. Exemplary fields of inquiry are theories of justice and priority setting in medicine and health care; the different normative justifications of public health and health promotion policies; concepts of the person and enhancement; and solidarity in contemporary bioethical applications.

EULOD – Living Organ Donation in Europe

Thomas Gutmann et al.

Within this EU research project on problems of living organ donation, researchers of the University of Münster compare the legal situations in Europe, focussing among others on legal restrictions, the efficacy of legal regulations, and the normative that dominate the policy arena about necessity and legitimacy of legal restrictions in living donor transplantation.

Moral Demandingness

Marcel van Ackeren

The project explores the concept of moral demandingness and wants to show that it should be understood as an oversize cut in the interests. Main objective of the project are a critical discussion of the requirements of the moral demandingness objection as well as theoretical options to deal with it. Here it is shown that the so-called 'anti-theory' is not an adequate response, but that ethical (metaethical and normative) theories are possible which are equally human, realistic, and moderate, without sacrificing normativity.

Person and Dignity

Jörg Hardy

The research project "Person and Dignity" is aiming at an eudaimonistic interpretation of personal autonomy and human dignity. It will be attempted to resolve the relation between dignity, personal autonomy and happiness. Personal autonomy and dignity will be embedded in a theory of a happy and succesful living. The assumption is, that dignity primarily is a preferentially desirable and happiness-deciding self-relation of a person.

Normative aspects of public health

Stefan Huster / Thomas Schramme et al.

People have always tried to maintain, improve, or restore their health. Increasing knowledge about the mechanisms that cause disease has led to enhanced opportunities to prevent the outbreak of disease. The prevention of disease is a central task of public health measures. For instance, improved hygiene has significantly contributed to increased health. But most recently the focus has been widened to include health determinants such as individual lifestyles and social factors. We have come to know that these aspects have a strong impact on health, and also that they are strongly related to class. This becomes especially clear when considering the extensive epidemiological data that show a stark correlation between socioeconomic status and life expectancy. These finding have stirred up political concern. After all, the state has the same obligations to each of its citizens; drastic inequalities regarding health and life expectancy do not seem tolerable in a welfare state.
Thus the empirical phenomena are fairly well known. Yet their normative implications are less often discussed: Whether, and in what sense, these health inequalities are injustices. Moreover, how can they be tackled? We might know that some of the biggest 'killers' in modern societies are significantly influenced by nutrition and diet, but this does not imply that we know what we may and should do in order to promote behaviour conducive to health in citizens. Here we need to ask how much we care for or value health and whether interventions in individual freedom can be justified by the purpose of health promotion.
The research group "Normative Aspects of Public Health" aims at discussing these topics in a systematic and thorough way. For this purpose, an interdisciplinary approach is vital. The group will cover genuinely new ground, for this topic has received little treatment in the German-speaking world. The project will offer an opportunity to assemble a group of experts from different disciplinary backgrounds who will thereby be enabled to collaborate over and above the lifetime of the project.

The Social Ontology of Personhood – a Recognition-Theoretical Approach

Michael Quante et al.

This international project is funded by the Australian Research Council and addresses the question, how human persons differ from other beings. The leading hypothesis, that die specific difference is constituted by the sociality of human persons, is examined by three major fields of research: theories of personality, theories of the constitution of social worlds, and theories of mutual acknowledgement.