Institut für Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin
| Ethik und empirische ForschungEthics and empirical research |
EGM-Home > Research > sorted by leader > Prof. Dr. Silke Schicktanz >

On Ethics and Empirics

The workgroup Ethics and Empirics of the Academy for Ethics in Medicine has been established in 2007. It is systematically following and involved in the up-to date international debate on empirical ethics/ empirically informed ethics. Meetings are held on a regular basis twice a year. Following up on past meetings, members are working on different theories of ethics and their meta-ethical bases. Also, they are investigating the practical relationship between, and examples of, the application of different theories of ethics and empirical research (e.g. quantitative as opposed to qualitative research).

In September 2009 the special issue „Medizinethik und Empirie“ of the journal "Ethik in der Medizin" has been published, edited by Schicktanz/ Schildmann. The issue aims at systemizing the present state of the debate in the German-language as well as international arena from the point of view of the theory of ethics, applied ethics of medicine and social science. It furthermore provides a first overview of controversies in the field. Both members of the workgroup as well as other external authors could be engaged to contribute summary articles.


Current publication of the working group: Marcel Mertz, Julia Inthorn, Günter Renz, Lillian Geza Rothenberger, Sabine Salloch, Jan Schildmann, Sabine Wöhlke und Silke Schicktanz: Research across the disciplines: a road map for quality criteria in empirical ethics research (PDF)



11th World Congress of Bioethics (International Association of Bioethics)
26-29 June 2012, Rotterdam

"Quality criteria for empirical research in bioethics and the challenge of interdisciplinarity"

Presented by Marcel Mertz, MA and L. Geza Rothenberger, MD, M. Sc. for the Empirical-Ethics-Working Group of the Academy for Ethics in Medicine (AEM), Germany



Workshop in cooperation with the Lichtenberg-Kolleg Göttingen: "The relation of medical practice, medical knowledge and norms in bioethics" December 2009.

Within bioethics and practical moral philosophy there is an ongoing reflection of how to assess medical and scientific facts since its beginnings. However, there is a new trend in bioethics stressing the importance of socio-empirical data for moral reasoning and moral argumentation. This new professional development is sometimes internationally labelled as "empirical ethics". Hence, we have to clarify how norms as well as a theoretically and empirically described practice are related to each other - from an ethical-normative and sociological point of view. Until today, we are missing systematic overviews with regard to different methods and various theories.

Therefore, the aim of the workshop is the interdisciplinary exchange between ethicists, philosophers, social scientists and physicians on various normative and prescriptive conditions of the relationship between applied bioethics and empirical studies. Furthermore, we want to re-consider the concept of empirical ethics and take into account results of social science studies of 'bioethics'.

To pursue the overall interdisciplinary interest in the interplay between ethics and social science in the field of life science technologies, the workshop will discuss three main lines of questions:

  • What different meanings of "empirical study / empirical findings" are used in different bioethical approaches - and what methodological status do empirical findings have for bioethical argumentation?
  • What understandings of "norm" and "ethical reflection" are used in sociological and cultural studies of science and medicine?
  • What different meta-ethical and theoretical relationships between norms and practice have to be considered?

Workshop Abstracts (PDF)

Workshop Programm (PDF)

Ironists, Reformers or Rebels? The Role of the Social Sciences in Participatory Policy Making

An interdisciplinary workshop to be held from June 25-27th 2008 at Collegium Helveticum, UZH/ETH Zürich, Switzerland organised in co-operation with: Priska Gisler, Dr. rer. soc., Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zürich, in collaboration with STS-CH.
A selection of articles is published in a special issue of STI (Science, Technology, Innovation)-Studies, Vol. 5, no.1 2009 "The role of social sciences in science policy making", edited by Priska Gisler and Silke Schicktanz: download here  or at