Conflicts of values: project investigates goal-oriented negotiation processes

Climate justice, freedom energies, or frankenfood – moral values are omnipresent in debates on social and economic topics. The MoWiKo project investigates the appropriate communication of ethical aspects.
Plakat "Muss nur noch kurz die Welt retten"
Just a question of scientific evidence? Societal debates such as those on climate protection are always conflicts of values too. (Source: cubicroot/pixabay)

Empirical sciences typically identify societal problem (climate change, antibiotic resistance, etc.) and develop possibilities to overcome them (vaccinations, new energy technologies, etc.). At the same time, these findings often raise ethical questions that cannot be answered on the basis of scientific statements alone. This includes questions on how to prioritize goals, deal with risks, or calculate costs and benefits.

Reluctance to compromise in debates

Ideally, we can find answers to such questions in societal negotiation processes in which all participants are capable of discourse and willing to make evidence-based compromises. However, in reality, such disputes at the interface between science and society are often not very compromise-oriented.

ITAS researchers assume that one reason for this can be found in the way in which moral aspects are introduced into public debates. They investigate this aspect together with researcher from other KIT institutions (ARRTI, ZAK, ITZ) and Heidelberg University in the project on “Moralizations in science communication” (MoWiKo), which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Guidelines for conflicts of values

The philosophical subproject, which is located at ITAS and ARRTI, develops a system that forms the basis for the empirical research of the other two subprojects. The researchers also work on guidelines to improve the integration of ethical aspects into science communication in the future. (29.04.2024)

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