Aim and focus
The mission of the Ethics Institute is to explore and clarify practical moral problems and to teach students how to reflect on the moral dimensions in their field of study. This involves both theoretical work in moral philosophy and applied studies. Our research focuses on the foundations of human rights, in particular the concepts of dignity and autonomy, on the methodology of ethics education, and on moral problems in public health, technology, and animal and environmental ethics.
The Ethics Institute plays a central role in research and teaching in the field of ethics within Utrecht University. The institute is part of the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Humanities.
History and present
The Rector Magnificus of Utrecht University founded the Ethics Institute in July 2003. Even at that time the Institute boasted 15 years of experience in research, education and consultancy in the fields of bioethics and health law. During these years, the institute focused in particular on animal ethics, public health ethics, and reflection on moral deliberation in practical ethics. We have developed and taught ethics courses for undergraduate and graduate studies in, for example, Medicine, Biology, Pharmacy and Veterinary Science. As a result, there are now many forms of cooperation in teaching and research between several faculties within the university.
The Ethics Institutes plays a major role in ethics and moral philosophy in the Netherlands, and staff members advise national and international councils and organisations (Netherlands Health Council; German Parliament; World Health Organization; European Centre for Disease Control; etc.).
Within Utrecht University, the Ethics Institute participates in the focus area Conflicts and Human Rights