Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

On 19-20 May 2005, a conference on science and ethics was held at the premises of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam under the title Common Values in the European Research Area: European Scientists and Scholars Meeting their Responsibility. The conference, nicknamed Amsterdam +8, was the follow-up to a similar 1997 conference on the subject European Science and Scientists between Freedom and Responsibility* at the same venue. Predictably, the 2005 conference reached consensus on certain issues, which allowed some conclusions to be formulated, although even more questions remained unanswered and even more problems unsolved.
One of the more pertinent issues in respect of the latter is the multiplicity of moral convictions and ethical positions in Europe regarding a variety of key socio-political problems with which we are faced, and in which regard scientists and scholars are asked for advice and help. The European Union (its Council, Parliament and Commission) is confronted with a plethora of competing moral positions with respect to many of these problems, thus hardly having any chance of achieving a consentaneous set of values and normative rules that would provide a way of addressing these problems. Many of these normative controversies are related to, or even created by, scientific achievements and discoveries, or by the technological advances resulting from their application. Given the present topicality of this discussion, a further reflection on and discussion of this important issue seem useful and beneficial.

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