Call for Abstracts Contextual Ethics III: Empirical Input in Ethics

Call for Abstracts

Contextual Ethics III: Empirical Input in Ethics

May 23-24, 2022

Uppsala University


A workshop organized by the Contextual Ethics network funded by NOS-HS, in collaboration with Engaging Vulnerability, Uppsala University and Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice.


Invited Speakers

Elisa Aaltola (Turun Ylipoisto)

Ondřej  Beran (University of Pardubice)

Jonna Bornemark  (Södertörn University)

Sverker Finnström (Uppsala University)

Nora Hämäläinen (University of Pardubice)


Description, Contextual Ethics III: Empirical Inputs in Ethics

This third conference will focus on the interplay of moral philosophy and empirical research, which is unavoidable in areas of research such the ethics of the development of AI or the challenges in medical ethics due to new technologies and an aging population. An issue of particular concern is the fact that in systematic philosophical approaches to ethical issues, the type of empirical evidence that is deemed relevant, and how it is deemed relevant, is largely determined by the ethical theories on which the approach is based. This conference aims to initiate a different and much-needed discussion of the use of data from the social, medical and natural sciences in moral philosophy and of the connections and differences between ethical, conceptual and empirical investigations. If ethics is vulnerable to changing social, cultural and technological circumstances, what might such “ethical porosity” imply for the notion of ethical relevance? What are the forces (constructive and/or destructive) of these kinds of vulnerabilities? Can empirical input change our philosophical understanding of what is ethically relevant and irrelevant, or morally sensitive and insensitive, beyond prevailing systematic philosophical approaches? Moreover, how is relevant empirical input delineated? Here, too, there are systematic approaches in the form of scientific methods for qualitative and quantitative empirical research. These approaches open up for new questions in ethics, but they may also have their own ways of delimiting ethics, which could make ethics less sensitive to context. Can other forms of material about human experience also function as input to ethical reflection, and if so, how?


Participants accepted through the call for abstracts process will be given 30 minutes each. (20 for presentation, 10 for Q&A.)


Abstract Length: 150-250 words

Abstract submission deadline: March 31, 2022

Notification of acceptance: April 8, 2022

Submit your abstract by email to


Background: Contextual Ethics

The primary objective of ‘Contextual Ethics’ is to provide a framework that brings together Nordic researchers working on contextualized ethics both within philosophy departments and within other fields with the aim of developing adequate theoretical frameworks for research on contextualized ethics and methods and approaches integrating contextual and normative issues.

Analytical moral philosophy has been dominated by a top-down approach to morality, primarily concerned with the articulation of normative or meta-ethical theories or substantive foundations of the moral. Situational, contextual and historical considerations have served secondary roles as checks on theories or sources of illustrative examples. In parts of moral philosophy there is a growing concern that traditional, top-down moral theories lack the context-sensitivity that will enable us to navigate through and address such moral changes. There seems to be a mismatch between abstract moral theories and moral life, which is also apparent in relation to the ethical challenges of everyday life.

Against this background, Contextual Ethics focuses on the development of a bottom-up approach to ethics that gives priority to the context of ethical considerations and aims to address a range of contextual challenges that we find distinctive to our specific historical moment. The aims are a meta-theory of contextual ethics, adequate theoretical frameworks for research on contextualized ethics and methods and approaches integrating contextual and normative issues. The attention to context has crucial implications for both the role of the moral philosopher and for the nature of moral philosophical work. The idea of the philosopher offering an abstract and technically sophisticated theory to be applied in different contexts areas will not do. But what are the philosophers doing instead?


Previous Contextual Ethics workshops:

Contextual Ethics I, University of Sothern Denmark, November 14-15, 2019

Contextual Ethics II: Methods and Approaches in Contextual Ethics. Åbo Akademi, January 28-29, 2022.