Bioethics Blogs

Bucharest – Oxford Workshop in Applied Ethics: Workshop Summary

Guest Post: Toni Gibea, University of Bucharest. 

The Bucharest-Oxford Workshop in Applied Ethics, which took place in Oxford on the 1st of December, brought together researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Bucharest to discuss new research across a variety of topics in applied ethics.

The workshop consisted of three main sessions: Principles and practice in applied ethics, Enhancement and Neuroethics. In what follows, I will summarize conclusions from the presentations together with responses from the audience, in order to give a quick overview. If you want to hear more about a particular presentation see the podcasts here.

Session I: Principles and practice in applied ethics

The first session began with Mircea Dumitru, the Rector of the University of Bucharest. A logician by training, he approached the issue of how we reason and pass a moral judgment in ethics, focussing on moral intuition. His conclusion was that we should see intuition and reasoning as two different kinds of cognition. And when it comes to how we actually pass moral judgments, most of the time, intuition comes first and then arguments back up the initial intuition. The audience discussion focussed on how this might affect how we ought to make moral judgments.

The next talk was given by Owen Schaefer, Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, who argued for a procedural form of moral enhancement. Thus, by enhancing reasoning in general we can get improved moral judgments. The starting point was Rawls’ proposal from his 1951 paper: Outline of a decision procedure for ethics.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.