New Challenges for Applied Ethics

The moral impact of scientific and technological advances


Research project of relevant national interest (PRIN) 2018-2020

The goal of this project is to show that a liberal-naturalist view of the human being (averse to both the antiscientific and the reductionist/eliminativist views) would make it possible to deal in a satisfactory way with the moral and sociopolitical challenges with which contemporary science confront us. In order to pave the way for this conclusion, we intend:

I. To analyze, from both a historical and a theoretical perspective, the intellectual dynamics that have generated the present unsatisfactory alternative between the antiscientific and the reductionist/eliminativist views of the human being.

II. To investigate three crucial cases taken from applied ethics – regarding the end-of-life decisions; the relationship between reasoning and emotion in moral judgment; and communication ethics and ICTs – that could, in our opinion, show that a suitable liberal naturalist view facilitates the harmonization of the fundamental categories of the ordinary image of the world with the new scientific and technological findings. In this respect, our methodology will integrate theoretical reflection and empirical research. We will also develop a communication plan with the aim of disseminating the results reached by our project.

The project comprises four research units: