"Wanting to know – an ethical commitment?"
Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolf Singer
Emeritus professor at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Senior Fellow at the Ernst Strüngmann Institute, Frankfurt
At first glance, basic research appears to be a discipline which, in the protected space of the freedom of research guaranteed by the constitution, has little potential for conflict. In fact, fundamental research, like all other human activities that lead to changes in the world, must also strike a balance between harm and benefit.
Whether a certain research approach will lead to new insights, what nature the insight will be in case of success and whether applications will result from it is difficult to predict. Since the only justification of basic research is the gaining of knowledge, the value of which can be assessed differently, ethical considerations in the area of basic research are particularly difficult. Examples from the field of brain research are used to explain the nature of ethical conflicts.
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