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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 =

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.

021. 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=
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 =

Key words: Empirical Ethics, Pragmatic Sociology, STS

Kind regards,

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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