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Prof. Dr. Frank Rövekamp

Stellvertr. Leitung / Studienberatung
Christine Liew, M.Litt.

Conny Scheurer


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29. August 2013

Ethics in Science and Society

EthicsFrank Rövekamp und Friederike Bosse

Ethics in Science and Society - German and Japanese Views

München: Iudicium, 2013

ISBN: 978-3-86205-075-8

166 Seiten



„The VSJF (German Association for Social Science Research on Japan) is an academic association, whose members cover a wide range of disciplines. Indeed, many of its members come from the Social sciences, as the name of the association suggests, but other disciplines are represented as well. The topics at our annual conferences are selected in such a way as to allow the contribution of a broad range of disciplines to the academic discussions. Many of the members proposed ethics, as a possible theme for the annual conference of 2011. This reflected a growing wish to add an ethical dimension to the analysis of different aspects of society, even where it had been absent in discussions of the past.

As this trend extended beyond Japan, comparisons could be drawn with other countries. Comparability was further enhanced due to the fact that similar issues were often discussed in Japan and Germany as well as in other countries. One need only think of the collapse of the Lehman Brothers and the ensuing financial crisis, and the ethical discussions they sparked surrounding the role of financial institutions and regulatory authorities. The nuclear disaster of Fukushima, which triggered worldwide debates regarding energy policy, is yet another case in point.

Aside from the ethical issues arising from natural and man-made disasters, the conference also treated the ethical dimension of increasingly important topics in the area of science. Modern medicine and robotics, for example, are rich in the ethical problems they raise. Organ transplants, for instance, can save many lives, yet donors are scarce, as opinions diverge on the definition of "brain death". Can ethics provide some guidance in this field? Robotics also engenders a host of ethical issues. Robots are used primarily in industrial production, but are increasingly used in other areas. The ethical issues of using robotics for military use are evident. But also their civilian uses, for example, in the care of the elderly, dem and ethical consideration. To what extent, for example, should "machines" support or even replace human caregivers? Furthermore, can robots develop consciousness and become "moral agents" themselves in the future?

The ethical discussions surrounding society also received their just due at the conference. In order to gain some initial insight into the ethical views of another country, it is often a good starting point to analyse schoolbooks and textbooks. This approach is used in one of the contributions in this book. Another paper looks at the psychology of the survivors of earthquakes; a recurring natural phenomenon in Japan. How can the survivors be supported without feeling burdened or overwhelmed by strong feelings of helplessness, dependence and indebtedness? The link between ethics and business is examined in this book by looking at consumer behaviour: to what extent, for example, is "ethical consumption", a trend in many countries, taking root in Japan? Finally, one of the pieces focuses an the role of ethics in business management. This article sheds some light by looking at the case of China and serves as a good basis for comparison with other countries.

We are indebted to our sponsors, the Japan Foundation, the Haniel Foundation and the Hans Böckler Foundation, who made the conference and this publication possible. Our thanks also go to all the speakers at the conference, who not only made the event successful with their lively presentations, but also took extra time to prepare their contributions for this book. Finally, our assistant Miriam Wendel, who spared no time and effort editing the collected papers, deserves special mention."
Frank Rövekamp (East Asia Institute, Ludwigshafen),    Friederike Bosse (Japanese-German Center, Berlin)

Table of Contents


Raji C. Steineck: Ethics, Morality, Rinri: Notes an the terminologies and taxonomies of "doing / being good"
1. Introduction
2. Illustration of the problem
3. Dimensions of moral language
4. Conclusion

Masahiro Morioka: How a Japanese Philosopher Encountered Bioethics
1. Philosophy, Ethics, and I
2. Introduction of bioethics into Japan
3. Brain Death and Organ Transplantation
4. Person and Persona
5. The Principle of Wholeness
6. Life Studies and Philosophy of Life

Catrin Misselhorn: Robots as Moral Agents?
1. Preliminaries
2. Two Dimensions of Agenthood
3. Robots as Moral Agents
4. Objections
5. Conclusion

Atsuo Takanishi: Beyond the Uncanny Valley
1. Introduction
2. Why Humanoid Robots?
3. Robotic Human Science
4. Adapting Human Engineering Models for Developing Products and Systems
5. Basic Research on Personal/Domestic Robots
6. Japan's Affinity for Humanoid Robots
7. The Future of Humanoid Robots
8. Conclusion

Klaus Vollmer: Self, Society, and Nation in Contemporary Japanese Textbooks on Moral Education
1. Introduction
2. Lessons from Disaster
3. Moral education within the context of educational reform
4. Individual, Society, and the Japanese Nation according to Kokoro no noto
5. Using Kokoro noto in class - lessons from commercial publishers' textbooks on moral education
6. Conclusions

Christian Tagsold: The Ethics of Mutuality: How to Repay Infinite Help after 3/11?
1. Introduction
2. The Neo-Liberal Roll-Out and the Emergence of Civil Society
3. Demographic Vulnerability in Northern Japan
4. The Ethical Burdens of Social Capital
5. Conclusion

Florian Kohlbacher: Ethical Consumption in Japan: A New Consumer Trend?
1. Introduction
2. Ethical Consumption in Japan
3. Empirical research and results
4. Discussion
5. Summarv and Conclusion
6. Appendix: Empirical study in Germany and Japan

Rainer Busch, Alexander Unger, Christian May, Robert McMahon and Ya Cheng Wang: Characteristics of Ethical Decision Making in China – Which are the Genuine Facets of Business Ethics in Chinese Culture?
1. Introduction
2. How different are business ethics in different cultures?
3. International business ethics
4. Asia specific aspects of ethics
5. China-specific aspects of ethics
6. Conclusion

The Authors


Siehe auch: Von Robotern pflegen lassen? (Jahrestagung des Vereins für sozialwissenschaftliche Japanforschung im November 2011)

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