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Message posted on 14/01/2022

Call for submissions EASST 2022 open panel: Closing the Loop of Empirical Ethics

Dear colleagues,

We draw your attention to an Open Panel we are organizing at the upcoming E= ASST 2022 conference, being held from 6-9 July 2022 in Madrid. The panel wi= ll be of interest to those working in STS, philosophy of technology, and ad= jacent fields whose work engages with questions of normativity and critique=

  • especially but not exclusively as they relate to the field of empirical = philosophy.

Abstract submission closes on 1 February 2022 and we look forward to readin= g your submissions. Don't hesitate to contact me in the meantime if you hav= e any questions.

  1. Closing the loop of empirical ethics: Away from normativity and critiq= ue and back again Panel organizers: Tamar Sharon, Marthe Stevens, Andrew Hoffman, Lotje Siffe= ls Deadline: February 1st, 2022 Contact person: Lotje Siffels,


Empirical ethics is an approach that can be loosely understood as "the empi= rical study of ... forms of the good in practice" (Pols 2018; cf. Th=E9veno= t 2001). On the one hand, mirroring shifts in bioethics, epistemology, and = social studies of science, it seeks to move the field of ethics beyond both= a reliance on universal principles and an emphasis on the development of n= ormative criteria for what should count as a 'good' practice (Hedgecoe 2004= ; Pols 2015). On the other hand, empirical ethics also aims to move the fie= ld of ethics away from an emphasis on critique that has long motivated much= research in the interpretative social sciences (Jerak-Zuiderent 2015; Lato= ur 2004). Instead, empirical ethics takes as its focus the empirical descri= ption of everyday morality. In making this double move, the approach has sh= ifted research questions in promising new directions, resulting in a rich b= ody of scholarship in ethics and philosophy of technology, STS and adjacent= fields both in terms of content and methods (Haimes 2002; Lehoux et al. 20= 12; Mol 2002; Molewijk et al. 2004; Pols 2016; Heeney 2017; Swierstra 2015)= .

However, several pressing (and interrelated) questions remain unanswered: i= s empirical ethics too apolitical? What kind of biases does the common focu= s on professionals and practitioners in empirical ethics lead to? Should em= pirical ethicists be in a position to make more prescriptive claims based o= n their descriptive work -- and if so, what resources at the intersection o= f STS and empirical ethics might be best suited for doing this work? In oth= er words, to what extent do proponents of empirical ethics have a warrant o= r imperative to "close the loop" of empirical ethics -- that is, to render = evaluations of the 'good'-ness of practices from beyond those practices, ye= t in a way that draws upon the situated accounts of everyday morality that = empirical ethics approaches aim to generate?

Reflecting on the theme of EASST2022 to consider the politics of technoscie= ntific futures, here we reflexively consider the future(s) of empirical eth= ics as a fruitful approach for unpacking and reshaping practices in science= , technology and medicine in all their moral and political complexity. To w= it, we invite papers covering a broad range of empirical topics but which c= ritically engage with the pasts, presents, and futures of empirico-ethical = analysis.

Key words: Empirical Ethics, Pragmatic Sociology, STS

Kind regards, Lotje

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Lotje Siffels PhD Candidate ERC Project Digital Good | Radboud Interdisciplinary research= Hub on Digitalization and Society (iHub) | Department Ethics and Political= Philosophy | Radboud University, Erasmusplein 1, room E19.06, tel.: (024) = 3611566 | Mobile: 06-12882257 |

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