Experts on philosophical reflection in public discourse - the German Sloterdijk debate as an example
Sigrid Graumann Biomedical Ethics, vol. 5, 2000, no. 1
It is a part of the concept that democratic societies have of themselves that the public negotiates the legitimacy of scientific and technological innovations, and political decisions are expected to refer to public opinion. At the same time, however, the public can only be perceived indirectly through the discourse of the public media. The discourse of the media is the place where the points of view, positions, and arguments of politics, of the relevant academic disciplines, and of other parts of society affected come together.
The new developments in biomedical research on the interface between reproductive medicine and human genetics, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, germ line gene therapy, and human cloning, are currently central issues not only in the academic bioethical debate, but also in the public bioethical discussion, and this not only in Germany. In the European and international context, Germany has the reputation of being politically and legally rather restrictive regarding these subjects: it is well known that Germany did not sign the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, not least because of the lack of a clear prohibition of research on human embryos in this document. [ 1 ] Considerable pressure was put on the German government not to sign the convention by to a well-organised grass roots movement composed of members of the disabled people's movement, of the women's health movement, of Christian groups, of the "Pro-Life"-movement, critical scientists, critical physicists, and other activists. [ 2 ] Furthermore, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, human germ-line intervention, and human cloning are prohibited by the Embryo Protection Act, which is a part of German criminal law. But this does not mean that these techniques are generally rejected in the discussion which takes place in the media. An example: the Bioethics Commission of the federal state of Rheinland-Pfalz and the German Physician's Society have undertaken an initiative to change the legal situation regarding pre-implantation genetic diagnosis; according to these voices, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis should be allowed under certain circumstances. [ 3 ] This initiative has been carried out in the media, with the result that a rather controversial public debate has ensued. The Ministry of Health, for example, has made a plea for an unprejudiced public debate [ 4 ] and the Bishop's Conference has strictly rejected the legalisation of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis because of its inherent eugenic character and its violation of human dignity. [ 5 ]
It is often stated by scientists and by ethicists that the debate in the German media is emotionally loaded. [ 6 ] Specifically, the criticism is made that the way discussions are carried out is dominated by strategic interests, that terms are used without being properly defined, [ 7 ] that moral legitimacy is misunderstood as social acceptability, that inconsistent arguments are put forward, [ 8 ] and that the appropriate procedure for reaching a consensus has not yet been found. [ 9 ] In this context, demands are often made on the part of some scientists that the public be provided with more objective information about the scientific facts, and that the debate be carried out with more attention to pragmatic issues on the part of some ethicists. [ 10 ] Both of these demands are partly justified, but they do not suffice to solve all of the above-mentioned problems. It becomes clear in the discussion as carried out in the media that particularly those biomedical approaches dealing with 'selection' and 'manipulation' of human beings like pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, germ-line gene therapy and human cloning are affecting our understanding of ourselves, both as individuals and as a society, our world-views and our basic moral convictions. In the media the mere use of terms like 'selection' and 'manipulation' triggers deeply founded moral reservations. In a public discourse which is orientated towards agreement in society about such subjects of biomedical research and practice, all moral concerns should be mentioned irrespective of whether they are easy to deal with or not. In what follows I will defend this thesis with reference to the Sloterdijk debate, which took place in the German media in the summer of 1999. [ 11 ]
The Sloterdijk debate
The initial impetus for the Sloterdijk debate was provided by a lecture entitled "Rules for the Human Zoo" given by the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk at the symposium "Philosophy at the End of the Century" in July 1999 at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria - or, more precisely, by the report about this symposium in the newspaper "Frankfurter Rundschau", in which the journalist Martin Meggle drew attention to Sloterdijk's lecture in a rather sensationalist fashion. The presentation of Sloterdijk's thesis about human breeding by means of "anthropo-techniques", and the description of the responses of the audience, led to numerous, controversial letters to the editor, mainly concerning the question of whether the audience was scandalised or not. In the following discussion in the media, at least five topics should be distinguished:
- whether Sloterdijk's reading of Heidegger, Nietzsche and Plato was correct;
- whether the public image of philosophy was being damaged by the debate;
- whether the personal animosity Peter Sloterdijk felt towards Jürgen Habermas was an appropriate topic to be discussed in the media;
- whether Sloterdijk's thesis was to be seen in the context of the currently fashionable desire to "dispose of German history", and whether his announcement of the "death of the critical theory" and with it any kind of social critique ("Tod der Frankfurter Schule") was also to be interpreted against this background; and
- whether the "breeding" of human beings was a topic worthy of serious analytical discussion.
Although the last topic was not the most intensively discussed, I will focus here only on it because it was thematically the starting point of the conflict and in my view the issue of main interest for public opinion. My aim is not to give an interpretation and critique of Sloterdijk's lecture. I intend instead to analyse the arguments I found in the various newspaper articles for agreement or disagreement in order to point out the major moral concerns.
The protagonists in this debate, as it was carried out in the media, were well-informed specialist journalists, but also philosophers and professors of related disciplines such as e.g. literature and cultural studies. Surprisingly, there were only very few voices from persons from the fields of applied ethics and the biosciences. Furthermore, the discourse showed two peculiarities. First, two widely read quality newspapers, the daily "Frankfurter Rundschau" and the weekly "Zeit" organised an expert discussion by presenting numerous philosophical guest contributions [ 12 ] which included the reprint of Sloterdijk's lecture. [ 13 ] Expert opinions - and here predominantly those of researchers, ethicists and politicians - on morally relevant topics in biomedicine are usually presented by being briefly quoted in articles written by journalists. Second, the debate was sparked off by the statement of a philosopher and its presentation in the media, and not by an event or occurrence in the biosciences and its presentation in the media. These two aspects allow me to leave one main aspect of the critique of the media unconsidered, namely the argument that "irrational fears" are caused by a certain kind of journalistic presentation of biomedical topics. This time, the opinions which were put forward came directly from the inner circle of German academia.
In the beginning the debate was primarily concerned with a close reading of the expressions Sloterdijk used in his lecture. Sloterdijk posed the "Epochenfrage" with Heidegger as follows: "What will tame the human being, if humanism as a school for taming human beings has failed?" [ 14 ] The suggested answer was given by Thomas Assheuer: "He (Sloterdijk) imagines a working group unencumbered by democracy and composed of real philosophers and appropriate geneticists, who no longer debate moral questions, but rather take practical action. This élite band is entrusted with the task of initiating the genetic revision of the history of the human species by means of selection and breeding." [ 15 ] Regarding the "future selection of human beings", Sloterdijk was understood to be calling for Philosophy "to participate actively and consciously at the side of the selectors." [ 16 ] Sloterdijk's use of "horror words of Nazi racial politics" like "selection" and "breeding" was analysed to be the main provocation. [ 17 ] The German philosopher Ernst Tugendhat formulated the historical connotation of the term 'selection' very concisely:
"When I listen to this word in this context, I can not help thinking about selection at the ramp of Auschwitz." [ 18 ]
Another demand made in the course of the debate was that the intellectual history of the notion of eugenics be mentioned more clearly. [ 19 ] Sloterdijk appeared instead to be helping the younger generation in Germany to get rid of stale feelings of guilt. [ 20 ]
All these positions refer, generally speaking, to values which partly guided the growth of the biosciences and, closely connected with this, were developed during the course of evolution of the biosciences in interaction with the leading values of other sectors of society including politics. It is nevertheless the case that the understanding which bioethics has of itself demands a clear distinction between empirically founded historical investigations of the evolution of the biosciences on the one hand, and normatively founded ethical reflections of morally relevant questions posed by the evolution of the biosciences on the other. These requirements are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, the question needs to be asked without any prejudice: to what extent are not only historical examinations, but also historical experiences relevant for ethical reflection? [ 21 ] Concerning public opinion, an answer could be as follows: usually, if reference is made in the German public discourse to the crimes which were perpetrated during the Third Reich, in particular in the context of medical research, a warning is being given about new - and not necessarily the same - violations of human rights which science and politics are considered to be capable on account of historical experience. [ 22 ] Ernst Tugendhat formulated the task of philosophical reflection in this context as "to draw attention to implicit tendencies and dangers of a given line of thought". [ 23 ]
Exception was also taken to what was understood to be Sloterdijk's assertion that so-called "birth fatalism" should be exchanged for "optional birth" by "prenatal selection". [ 24 ] Important in this context is that, in the discourse of the media, "selective" actions are very often considered to discriminate against handicapped members of society. In bioethics, on the other hand, the term 'selection' is instead used in a rather more neutral sense to describe what actually occurs in prenatal and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. For example, in a report of the Congress of the German Society for Philosophy, which was held in the shade of the Sloterdijk debate, Dieter Birnbacher was quoted as having said that "prenatal diagnosis should not in principle be seen as discriminating against the handicapped for the same reason that those who don't want a child at all are not accused of being child-haters." Furthermore, he called for the discussion of bioethical questions with "clear, analytical competence". [ 25 ]
Other contributors wrote that it is a fact that the borderline between coincidence ("what we are, due either to divine will or to the operation of blind chance") and free decision ("what we do with this inheritance") is shifting in such a way that the area designated by the former is decreasing in favour of that designated by the latter, with the increase in human responsibility which this entails, [ 26 ] and that human beings never did mate freely. [ 27 ] Sloterdijk himself said similarly in an interview that selection has always taken place through the interference of class, caste, marriage, and education rules. [ 28 ] Another statement was that we are at the beginning of a biotechnological age characterised by the investment of huge creative potentials towards the goal of taking possession of the world and human existence as such. [ 29 ] The matter of debate is here, in my view, first of all the extent to which responsibility is to be assumed not only for single clearly definable actions but also for general developments within society which have to be seen in the context of their interaction with the dynamics of bioscientific research. Not surprisingly, given the many-sidedness of the debate, at its interim conclusion there are no clear solutions visible. This was mentioned during the debate as well: "What is left is perplexity." [ 30 ]
I'm not quite as pessimistic as that, not at least because the Sloterdijk debate provides us again with the opportunity to test the agenda of bioethical discussions.
To give a very brief evaluation of the Sloterdijk debate with regard to it's content concerning "prenatal selection" and "human breeding", I want to point out three clear differences to the academic discourse of bioethics:
1. The discussion of "human breeding" was purely visionary in this debate. The critical reflection on the possibilities and limits of scientific work was a clear lack in the public debate, whereas this is a major concern of academic bioethical discourse. Nevertheless, there are several contributions to the academic discourse of bioethics which are similarly science-fiction-like. [ 31 ] What is important is that the status of such considerations should be made explicit, in the academic as well as the public discussion. Otherwise the 'mystification' of genetics and with it both, hopes and fears about the potential of genetics, are taking a rather unrealistic turn. [ 32 ]
2. The protection of human embryos and the rights of the future child on the one hand, and the rights, interests and desires of parents in spe on the other, which are at the core of academic debates in bioethics, were not mentioned in the public debate at all.
3. The focus of the public debate was definitely set on the social and cultural consequences caused by the dynamics of biomedical research itself as well as by the discussions and philosophical reflections concerning it. Many ethicists, however, would not agree that this is of any ethical relevance at all.
The Sloterdijk debate confirms a tendency generally visible in the discourse of the media concerning biosciences and biomedicine: the dynamic change of social values and norms in society and it's social consequences in this context are the main focus of interest in these public debates, but are considerably filtered out of the ethical discourse. Perhaps this is due to a lack of clarity about how the development of new techniques and their accompanying discursive legitimisation affects social values and norms, as well as about the question of the extent to which this is ethically relevant.
Discourse, individual, and society
Our decisions and actions are guided not only by free, personal preferences, convictions and beliefs, but also by social values and norms. The empirical investigation of media discourses leads to the identification of social values and norms. [ 33 ] Such norms become visible through (public) discourse and they are shaped or changed within it. They influence the future development of society, which also includes that of the biosciences. Conversely, the actual (and historical) practice of scientific research and its fields of application has an effect on the dynamics of social value and norm systems. [ 34 ] In this context the way in which discourse, the individual, and society hang together is of further relevance for our question.
The term 'discourse' is used here in a sense given to it by the social sciences as an "institutionalised form of text production defined in terms of its contents and themes." [ 35 ] Here the 'text' is to be understood as the product of a single author whereas the 'discourse' is the collective product of communication. [ 36 ] This interpretation of the term 'discourse' can be combined with considerations according to which social reality, as we perceive it, is in a sense the result of social construction. This social realty is the "matrix" within single individuals gain their knowledge about reality, form their personal values, convictions and beliefs, and make decisions and act upon them. [ 37 ] The individual becomes socialised towards 'socially constructed', objectified types of action and roles. But the individual is not at the mercy of these social processes; he or she is instead actively involved in the shaping, changing and further development of the institutional order and its legitimising system of symbolic sense. This is the dialectical relationship between subjective and objective reality. [ 38 ] The legitimisation of social structures is the task of culture. Culture is in this context the system of collective knowledge and symbolic sense and its main tool is language. [ 39 ] The leading role is here played by the institutionalised production of text. Discourses understood as the institutionalised production of texts legitimise and delegitimise reality. This means that there is a sense in which the discourse not only speaks 'constructively' about certain objects but also about itself; it produces social objects and thereby changes social reality. Within the discourse there are single authors of texts who are participating in 'changing reality'; by writing they are acting intentionally and are therefore responsible for their actions.
These briefly sketched thoughts should provide us with a model for understanding the psycho-social consequences - referring to the subjective reality - and the socio-cultural consequences - referring to the objective reality -- of the interplay between the options offered by the biosciences for the individual as well as for society, and discourses such as the Sloterdijk debate which refer to them. In this way, they can serve as the basis for socio-ethical argumentation.
The ethical relevance of changing social values and norms
Perhaps the main reason why politicians, scientists, and ethicists working in the area of applied ethics - those groups which, apart from the journalists themselves, are usually the main actors in the public discourse of the biosciences - took so little part in the Sloterdijk debate was that it was a debate based on visions about the future, rather than one which dealt with concrete and currently relevant innovations in the biosciences or biomedicine. An important factor may also have been the fact that the debate was dominated by deep conflicts between different world-views, belief and conviction systems, was possibly too emotionally loaded, and discussed socio-cultural consequences of scientific research which were never made clear. Perhaps these groups thought that such indistinct subjects were not worthy of serious analytical discussion, in that no clearly defined practical consequences seemed to follow from them.
If, however, the assumption that in the entire discourse of bioethics, both in academia and in the public arena, the practical work of scientists and the 'theoretical work of the participants in the discourse who reflect on the practical work of scientists (including historical and future perspectives) are co-operating in 'changing reality', is justified, then all of the contributions to the media discourse mentioned above have to be seen in the context of 'prenatal selection', i.e., the medical practice of prenatal diagnosis as it is established in our time, as well as the possibility of introducing pre-implantation genetic diagnosis as it is being discussed at present in Germany. Such a co-operation is of particular relevance if a certain quality of alteration of social values and norms is to be seen as morally problematic. There are at least three such assumed alterations which are often criticised in the public discourse about 'prenatal selection':
1. In the public discourse, prenatal diagnosis is often characterised as "private eugenics." This metaphor is used to describe the private character of individual decisions as well as their social context and consequences. Individual decisions about 'prenatal selection' are made within the 'matrix' of social value- and norm-systems, objectified types of action and social roles. As a consequence, a certain kind of alteration of this social reality in the course of implementing, establishing and legitimising 'prenatal selection' may be related to the institutionalisation of a social norm of parentage based on "life worth living" predications. This social dynamics may thus cause a kind of subtle pressure on future parents to make use of prenatal or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Such a development would progressively undermine the right to make free decisions with respect to future parenthood. Given that freedom is the prerequisite for moral actions, from a socio-ethical point of view such a development should be called into question indeed.
2. Another concern in the public discourse regarding 'prenatal selection' is discrimination against disabled people. It is clear that the individual choice of a woman or a couple to make use of prenatal or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is not an act of discrimination against the social group of disabled people as such. This would be a misinterpretation of the 'discrimination argument'. But again, the course of implementing, establishing and legitimising 'prenatal selection' might change social reality in a way which would be connected with a decreasing appreciation of disabled members of society. This fact alone would be socially discriminating. Furthermore, such a change in social reality could lead to the legitimisation of the reduction of social and institutional solidarity for disabled people and their families. It should therefore also be a matter of concern from a socio-ethical point of view.
These are two concrete examples of public concern about the change of social reality in the wider context of scientific and medical progress.
3. More generally, bio-technological and biomedical innovations and the debates which accompany them determine certain conditions for the future possible development of social reality. And the question of which social reality we want to live in in the future is entirely a question of ethics. The aim of applied ethics should therefore not be reduced to the evaluation of concrete and currently relevant innovations in the biosciences or biomedicine. Applied ethics can not escape being involved in the creative process of dynamically changing social values and norms, world-views, and collective conviction and belief systems. In a recent article about the reflection of bioethics on itself, Kurt Bayertz pointed out that the pluralism of moral convictions and beliefs in modern societies and the dynamics of changing values and norms makes less abstract ethical reflection necessary and has this way to be understood as one reason for the emergence of applied ethics. [ 40 ] The participation of (bio)ethics in changing social reality, as far as values and norms are involved, should be therefore be conscious and responsible in public as well as in academic discourses.
If it is true that that conflicts between world-views and basic conviction and belief systems were the main subject of the Sloterdijk debate, and that this fact was at least partly the reason for there having been so few responses from the field of applied ethics, this indicates a missed chance. Perhaps with the methodological tools of applied ethics - amongst other things: the differentiation of different levels of debate, the illumination of entire complex fields of moral relevance, the identification of the presuppositions and further implications of certain positions, the clarification of definitions and connotations of the relevant terms, the examination of the coherence (Kohärenz) and consistency (Konsistenz) of arguments - the debate would not have been as confusing as it was.
- The other main points of critique were that the convention allows for non-therapeutic research on people not able to consent, and that the draft of the convention was worked out without transparency for the public.
- Kollek, Regine, and Günter Feuerstein, "Bioethics and antibioethics in Germany: A sociological approach." International Journal of Bioethics 10, no. 3 (1999): preprint.
- Caesar, Peter, "Präimplantionsdiagnostik. Thesen zu den medizinischen, rechtlichen und ethischen Problemstellungen. Bericht der Bioethik-Kommission des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz." In: Rheinland-Pfalz: Ministerium der Justiz Rheinland-Pfalz, 1999. Bundesärztekammer. Diskussionsentwurf zu einer Richtlinie zur Präimplantationsdiagnostik. Internet-publication at http://www.bundesaerztekammer.de, Berlin, 2000.
- Riedel, Ulrike, Plädoyer für eine unvoreingenommene, offene Debatte. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt 97, Heft 10, 10 March 2000, pp. 586-588.
- Meesmann, Hartmut, Biotechnologien: Bischöfe warnen vor "Selektion". In: Frankfurter Rundschau, 17.3.2000.
- Winnacker, Ernst-Ludwig, "Wieviel Gentechnik brauchen wir?" In: Marcus Elster (ed.) Gentechnik, Ethik und Gesellschaft. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 1997, pp. 43-56.
- Müller-Hill, Benno, "Bedenkenswertes zum Human Genome Project." In: Marcus Elstner (ed.) Gentechnik, Ethik und Gesellschaft. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 1997, pp. 97-106.
- Mieth, Dietmar, "Gentechnik im öffentlichen Diskurs: Die Rolle der Ethikzentren und Beratergruppen." In: Marcus Elstner (ed.) Gentechnik, Ethik und Gesellschaft. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 1997, pp. 211-220.
- Honnefelder, Ludger, "Bioethik im Streit. Zum Problem der Konsensfindung in der biomedizinischen Ethik." Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik 1 (1996): pp. 73-86.
- Winnacker, Ernst-Ludwig, "Wieviel Gentechnik brauchen wir?" In: Marcus Elster (ed.) Gentechnik, Ethik und Gesellschaft. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 1997, pp. 43-56. Birnbacher, Dieter, "Klonen von Menschen: Auf dem Weg zu einer Versachlichung der Debatte." ForumTTN Technik Theologie Naturwissenschaften 2, November (1999), pp. 22-34.
- The analysis and interpretation of the Sloterdijk debate is taken from an ongoing media analysis of the public debate concerning the in-vitro techniques applied at the earliest stages of human life or, in more popular terms, concerning the 'selection' and 'manipulation' of human beings. This media analysis is part of the research project "Ethical Questions Regarding in-vitro Techniques used at the Beginning of Human Life - A Comparison of Analysis Results and Evaluation Discourses" funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German research foundation). Prof. Dr. Dietmar Mieth is the project director and the author is the person responsible for the project.
- The same newspapers were responsible for another rather similar expert discussion in the German media situated in the same thematic field: the Dolly-debate in 1997.
- Sloterdijk, Peter, Regeln für den Menschenpark. In: Die Zeit, 16 September 1999, pp. 17-21.
- Meggle, Martin, Halluzinationen und Lügen. In: Frankfurter Rundschau, 31 July 1999.
- Assheuer, Thomas, Das Zarathustra-Projekt. In: Die Zeit, 2. September 1999.
- Letters to the editor, In: Frankfurter Rundschau, 20 August 1999.
- Schneider, Manfred, Hirt ohne Schafe. In: Frankfurter Rundschau, 15 September 1999.
- Tugendhat, Ernst, Es gibt keine Gene für die Moral. In: Die Zeit, 23.9.1999.
- Stemmler, Theo, Im Boot der Utopie. Neue Züricher Zeitung, 19.10.1999.
- Frank, Manfred, Geschweife und Geschwafel. In: Die Zeit, 23.9.1999.
- Cf. Potthast, Thomas, Bioethics and epistemic-moral hybrids: Perspectives from the history of science. In this issue of "Biomedical Ethics".
- Graumann, Sigrid, "Germline gene 'therapy': Public opinions with regard to eugenics." In: Elisabeth Hildt and Sigrid Graumann (eds.), Genetics in Human Reproduction, pp. 175-184. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999.
- Tugendhat, Ernst, Es gibt keine Gene für die Moral. In: Die Zeit, 23.9.1999.
- Frank, Manfred, Geschweife und Geschwafel. In: Die Zeit, 23.9.1999.
- Sezgin, Hilal, Nüchterne analytische Kompetenz. In: Frankfurter Rundschau, 11.10.1999.
- Dworkin, Ronald, Die falsche Angst Gott zu spielen. In: Die Zeit, 16.9.1999.
- Albrecht, Jörg, Die Guten ins Töpfchen. In: Die Zeit, 19.9.1999.
- In: Focus 13, 1999.
- Dell' Agli, Daniele, Zugriff auf das Unverfügbare. In: Frankfurter Rundschau, 14.10.1999.
- Title in Frankfurter Rundschau, 2.11.1999.
- For an example, see: Walters, LeRoy, and Julie G. Palmer. The Ethics of Human Gene Therapy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
- This is not the main aim of this article. See for this: Graumann, Sigrid, "Some conceptual questions about Somatic Gene Therapy and its relevance for an ethical evaluation." In: Anderson Nordgren (ed.) Gene Therapy and Ethics, pp. 67-77. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studies in Bioethics and Research Ethics 4, 1999.
- It is not intended here to differentiate between social and moral norms. But it should be mentioned that at least some social norms are not equivalent to moral norms, for example, some kinds of dress conventions.
- Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann, Die gesellschaftliche Konstruktion der Wirklichkeit. Eine Theorie der Wissensoziologie. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1999, p. 98ff. Engl.: The Social Construction of Reality.
- Keller, Reiner, "Diskursanalyse." In: Ronald Hitzler and Anne Honer (eds.) Sozialwissenschaftliche Hermeneutik. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1997.
- Jäger, Siegfried, Kritische Diskursanalyse. Duisburg: DISS-Studien, 1999, p. 148.
- Hacking, Ian, The Social Construction of What? Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999, p. 10.
- Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann, Die gesellschaftliche Konstruktion der Wirklichkeit. Eine Theorie der Wissensoziologie. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1999.
- Schmidt, Siegfried J., "Sprache, Kultur und Wirklichkeitskonstruktion(en)." In: Hans Rudi Fischer (ed.), Die Wirklichkeit des Konstruktivismus. Zur Auseinandersetzung um ein neues Paradigma. Heidelberg: Carl-Auer-Systeme, 1995, pp. 239-251.
- Bayertz, Kurt, "Moral als Konstruktion. Zur Selbstaufklärung der angewandten Ethik." In: P. Kampits and A. Weiberg (eds.), Angewandte Ethik / Applied Ethics. Wien: öbv hpt, 1999, pp. 73-89.