About the Institut Mensch, Ethik und Wissenschaft
New questions raised by Life Science
The developments in the biosciences and their uses in medicine and biotechnology have opened up a whole array of new options, procedures and requirements at an individual level and in society at large. What was a matter of fate yesterday must be decided upon today. The speed of innovation in this field has brought new individual, social, ethical and legal problems to our attention. Embryo and stem-cell research, prenatal and preimplantation diagnosis, gene diagnosis, research on people unable to give their consent for the benefit of others and intervention in the human gene-pool are among the most important areas demanding closer scrutiny. Advances in medical technology have blurred the recieved views on the beginning and end of life and in so doing have challenged us to reevaluate the whole idea of life itself. For the dying and the incurable, those in a vegetative state and babies born with severe impairments the questions raised have an obvious relevance.
Tasks and Goals of the Institute
- The principal task of the institute is interdisciplinary and independent research in the field of medical ethics. The institute concerns itself in particular with the problems of the disabled and chronically ill people as seen from their own standpoint as well as the impact of bioscience on society as a whole.
- The institute draws up ethical concepts and develops positions based on sympathy, recognition, cooperation and care.
- It tries to establish a link between society and science by ensuring that the dialogue will be in both ways and grounded on respect. Ideas for research projects should not only come from the scientific community but also from the wider public domain.
- The institute collects, documents and makes available German- and English-language information, records and literature relating to medical, societal, legal and ethical questions. The data should be as comprehensive and as relevant as possible in order to enhance a public debate and to motivate people with a different background to take part in the debate.
- The institute organises public meetings and conferences providing a discussion forum for public debate.
- The institute acts as an advisor for organisations, institutions and politicians.