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Closing Symposium of the Marsilius Project "Human Dignity"


Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften
Karlstraße 4
69117 Heidelberg

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Research Network "Life Science, Culture and Society"

A cooperation of the IFBK, the FIIT and the Centre for Subjectivity Research


In a globalised world, scientific and technological innovations affect all cultures in equal measure, however they are evaluated and interpreted in many different ways. This is particularly true for the developments in the life sciences, for instance in the areas of genetics, cell biology, neurobiology, pre- and perinatal medicine as well as medicine of the last phase of life. They encounter culture-specific basic anthropological and ethical assumptions (views/images of man, lifestyles, living environments), with which they may conflict, but which they also influence and change. Conversely, cultural systems of interpretation have a significant influence on life science theory and practice. This leads to fundamental questions about the interaction of scientific and cultural development:


  • How do traditional cultural views of personhood as well as religious and ethics systems react to advances in biomedicine? To what extent are they altered in the process? 
  • Conversely, to what extent are life science theory and practice affected by cultural reflection processes?
  • What are the consequences of such comparative studies for basic anthropological assumptions and normative practices in our culture?

The exploration of these issues requires special measures to bridge the gap between the life, cultural and social sciences. The research network will address the connections between antrhopology, cultural development and ethics in the follwoing sections:

(A) „Life Sciences and Living Environments“: Explores the interaction of biomedical advances and cultural reflection processes in Philosophy, Literature, Religion etc. 

(B) „Life and Living Environments“: Explores the interaction of biological, anthropological and cultural development  processes 

(C) „Life Sciences and Ethics“: Integration of the ethical and political consulting activities of the IFBK and the FIIT in an interfaculty ethics network

These complex tasks require the cooperation of the fields of Biology, Medicine, Philosophy, Ethnology, Literature, Theology, Ethics and Law. This has been achieved through the work of the IFBK and the FIIT.



Civil Society for Sustainability (EU-CSS)

Monitoring Policy and Research Activities on Science in Society in Europe (MASIS)

Dr. Frank Martin Brunn: Email
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