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Research Unit for Ethics, Legal, and Political Philosophy


The unit coordinates the work of researchers working on interrelated questions in ethics, legal, and political philosophy. Current research questions concern the ethics of war, bioethics, moral psychology, roboethics, political justice, public space, politics of everyday life, social philosophy, inequality, the public sphere, the welfare state, normativity, naturalism, the ethics and politics of punishment, and the nature of rights, media ethics, and history of ethics.

The unit has an international profile, with solid ties to several of the world’s most prominent research centers in the field. Its research is published in top ranked journals. Members of the unit are actively seeking large European and Danish funds.

The unit hosts a permanent research seminar with a university-wide following, frequently organizes workshops and conferences.

Unit Coordinator

Raffaele Rodogno

Associate professor, research programme director

Events Fall 2019

Monday 16.9, kl. 13:15-15:00, Bygn. 1465-616.

Kenneth Richman  (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences) Autism and Consent for Research: Defending a Kantian Approach.

Monday 28.10. Byg 1465, Lokale 616, kl 16-18:

Dr Johannes Lenhard, Max Cam Centre, University of Cambridge: 

Better lives on the street – homeless people in Paris between long-term home-making and short-term survival


Abstract: Most of my rough-sleeping informants in Paris had hopes for leaving the street behind, hopes for a better life in the future. These hopes were on the one hand translated into small steps towards the fulfilment of the respective goals – what I call daily home-making practices: getting an address, registering with the administration – but on the other hand, they regularly clashed with short-term desires, often connected to alcohol and drugs. Navigating these conflicts was part of the daily survivals of the rough sleeping people I worked with in the French capital. I will build on the detailed readings of two of my informants’ trajectories – Pascal from Germany, Barut from Bulgaria – theorising how their struggles are part of making a better life first on and eventually (hopefully) off the street.

Monday 11.11, Bygn 1465, Lokale 616, kl. 13:15 - 15:00.

Dr. Jameson Garland, Department of Law, University of Uppsala, Sweden

Care for Children Born with Variations of Sex Characteristics - The Limits of Medicine, Ethics & Law?

AbstractNonconsensual gender-conforming interventions on children born with variations of sex characteristics have recently come under sharp criticism from human rights authorities within the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the European Union. These authorities have identified the medical interventions in question as violating children’s rights to bodily integrity, privacy, and protection from violence, torture, and degrading treatment and have called on nations to reform their legal frameworks to protect these children. Few nations have taken such actions.


Medical experts who perform these procedures concede that the interventions are not substantiated as necessary, safe or effective for each affected child, but they have also not supported calls for regulation or abandonment of these practices, even though several national medical ethics commissions have urged them to do so.What do these outcomes tell us about the limits of law, medicine, and ethics to protect children from socially-driven medically harmful procedures?

Monday 25.11, Bygn 1465, Lokale 616, kl. 13:15 - 15:00.

Dr. Nora Hämäläinen, Senior Researcher, Center for Ethics, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic

Metaphors of Change - How to talk about moral change?

AbstractMoral beliefs, customs, norms and virtues are historcially specific and contextually anchored. Thus they undergo change. Social scientists adressing such beliefs and customs tend to take this mutability at face value: morality is indeed this changing and culturally varying thing. Most contemporary moral theorists however find this perspective deeply unsatisfactory and premised on a conceptual confusion: prudential norms and mores surely change, but morality is always the same, universal by definition. In this talk I argue that this philosophical universalism leads philosophers to miss out on important aspects of lived moral life which would be necessary for an adequate philosophical account, even if one believs in a universal morality. The challenge is to find ways to talk about moral change and contextuality in ways which avoid the dichotomy between universalism and relativism. To do this we need to rethink the metaphors that shape our thinking about morality.