Contemporary ethics is a relevant and vital field of study which concerns both analytic and continental philosophers as well as researchers in most fields of research, including social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. In the course the ethics is studied from the sides of ethics and humanities and ethics and aesthetics.



We investigate basic principles of cognition in regards to ethical conduct. Following is addressed:

  • moral realism vs, anti-realism (eg subjectivism),
  • moral cognitivism (expression of sentences with reality values) vs. non-cognitivism,
  • moral objectivism vs. skepticism and relativism.

Normative ethics

Is the basic branch of practical philosophy where we provide systematization or structural determination of the manners of proper (moral) functioning. This is a philosophy of proper social conduct and an understanding of the general determinations of an appropriate response to hypothetical situations; here, following is addressed

– consequentialism, deontology, ethics of virtues, and other ethical denominations as applied ethics The course investigates the application of (normative) ethical items to concrete life situations and empirical understanding of the role of ethics in society. Following is investigated:

  • bioethics and ethics of medicine (euthanasia, abortion),
  • business ethics, ethics of technology (artificial intelligence, machines),
  • animal ethics and environmental ethics

During this course, we will prioritize the research upon normative ethics and especially applied ethics.


Ethics and aesthetics as well as human sciences as such represent a meaningful field of contemporary investigations. The investigation of the role of humanities in contemporary human (self)understanding. This inquiry will be philosophical in nature and will continue the discussion that has been prevalent in the assessments of the “hermeneutic reality” of understanding. For example, in Gadamer`s philosophical hermeneutics the notion of understanding is set on the grounds of historically affected consciousness of the experiencing being. Understanding occurs (or rather, “is occurring”) via the confrontation with the tradition within the “fusion of horizons”. Since the interpreter is fundamentally a historical being and bound to his existential situation, understanding is pre-determined by the prejudices of tradition (pre-judgments derived from one`s historical perspective). The recognition of prejudices as the inherent parts of the historical existence of human beings marks a recognition of the ontological condition of our belonging to tradition as the condition of any possible understanding; the genuine self-encounter is made possible by acknowledging the facticity of our historically effected consciousness. Hence our education in culture and the relationships we build with others adhere to the same underlying principles of hermeneutics. In this part of the course we will investigate how ethics, aesthetics, and by extension, art function at the advent of the digital age and the biotech development.

1. Course aim

The aim of the course is to address the contemporary research needs to reflect upon complex issues which are frequently overlooked in certain specialized areas. Ethics of the digital (AI, web content, social media) is one of the examples that brings a new and critical field of inquiry; the important negative consequence of the lack of a complex understanding of the interpretative and possibly dissimulated nature of social reality in the digital era lies in the potential of the distorted presentation of the normative structure of society which often accompanies mechanistic appropriation of applied ethics to the specific areas of interest. There, philosophy (and humanities in general) can productively contribute to the otherwise interdisciplinary undertaking of the thorough investigation of the features of contemporary social existence. Bioethics, biohacking and ethics of medicine is another subject of the course.

By taking into account different explanatory models and principles of understanding, a responsible philosophical approach to answering to the appeal of social normativity might a privileged way of doing justice in response to the critical issues by researching the practicability, evaluation, and administration of general normative standards for the particular focal domains in the society in which there is a constant threat of impingement of personal autonomy and the mutual recognition of the other in a digitalized social world and in the world of new biotech. Humanities may not offer easy answers to these inquiries, but they still retain a critical role in social understanding.

2. Course content

The content of the course will present the setting for the understanding of philosophy, ethics, and human sciences as such and will consist of the following topics:

  1. Philosophy and human sciences in contrast to natural sciences, biotech and engineering
  2. The beginnings of philosophy – the break between archaic Greek and Socratic thinking and the transition from mythology to reason – the advent of ethical and scientific thinking.
  3. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as the three pillars of ancient Greek philosophy and their contributions to ethics, politics, epistemology, and the classification of knowledge
  4. Application of ethics
  5. History of Art and Aesthetics
  6. Art changed with the advent of the digital age and biotech

In addition an overview of the taxonomy and applications of ethics, especially in regards to the traditional ethical systems (normative ethics) and practical content (applicative ethics) will be considered.

The relation between humanities, technology, and engineering in the course will be addressed by selected cases and studies. Research methods and endeavors of humanities, computing and biotech are mutually inclusive; for instance, there could be meaningful application of computing technologies developed in one research problem to be reapplied in other research contexts.

The last part of the course will investigate how art is changed with the advent of the digital age and biotech. We will inquire on the possibilities and the ontology of the work of art in the time of digital changes and biotechnologies, and reflect on the new shapes of artistic endeavor.

  • Can digital help to bring new light to the question of art and beauty?
  • Did the new social role of art in the time of biotechnology (CRISPR/Cas9) and the COVID-19 crisis showcase a new pattern for understanding art as such?

On the other hand, art can be constructively connected to ethics. We will investigate how art teaches us about how to behave in society, how to build meaningful relations with each other and how to properly educate ourselves with the perspective of (life-long) learning of self-understanding. An overview of contemporary aesthetics will be provided.

3. Learning curricula building blocks

  • learning content for each unit of the pilot course
  • different items to be studied
  • how to organize the timing and study materials
  • Hybrid Lab study cases
  • Art and Design thinking cases
  • Infographics

4. Methods of learning

  • case studies
  • discussion
  • critical thinking

5. Materials and Sources

1. Jon Nuttall, An Introduction to Philosophy (Hoboken: Wiley, 2013).

2. Milad doueihi: About digital humanism, https://www:inaglobal:fr/en/ideas/article/about-digital-humanism, accessed: 2018-11-30.

3. Understanding Digital Humanities, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. URL https://www:xarg:org/ref/a/0230292658/

4. The economic contribution of the creative industries to eu gdp and employment evolution 2008-2011, http://www:teraconsultants:fr/en/issues/The-Economic-Contribution-of-the-Creative-Industries-to-EU-in-GDP-and-Employment, accessed: 2018-11-30.

5. Ethics and legality in the digital arts and humanities (eldah), https://www:dariah:eu/activities/working-groups/ethics-and-legality-in-the-digital-arts-and-humanities-eldah/, accessed: 2019-11-01.

6. C. Bassett, Plenty as a response to austerity? big data expertise, cultures and communities, European Journal of Cultural Studies 18 (4-5) (2015) 548–563. arXiv:https://doi:org/10:1177/1367549415577394, doi:10:1177/ 1367549415577394.

7. A. Dukhanov, A. Boukhanovsky, T. Sidorova, N. Spitsyna, Big data and artificial intelligence for digital humanities: An international master program via trans-eurasian universities network, Procedia Computer Science 101 (2016) 449 – 451, 5th International Young Scientist Conference on Computational Science, YSC 2016, 26-28 October 2016, Krakow, Poland. doi:https://doi:org/10:1016/j:procs:2016:11:052.

8. URL http://www:sciencedirect:com/science/article/pii/S1877050916327211

9. S. L. Moazeni, Integrating digital humanities into the library and information science curriculum, Public Ser-vices Quarterly 11 (3) (2015) 225–231. arXiv:https://doi:org/10:1080/15228959:2015:1062455, doi:10:1080/ 15228959:2015:1062455. 10. URL https://doi:org/10:1080/15228959:2015:1062455

11. Defining Digital Humanities (Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities), Routledge, 2013. URL https://www:xarg:org/ref/a/1409469638/

12. C. Dallas, N. Chatzidiakou, A. Benardou, M. Bender, A. Berra, C. Clivaz, J. Cunningham, M. Dabek, P. Garrido, E. Gonzalez-Blanco, J. Hadalin, L. Hughes, B. Immenhauser, A. Joly, I. Kelpšien˙e, M. Kozak, K. Kuzman, M. Lukin, I. Marinski, M. Maryl, R. Owain, E. Papaki, G. Schneider, W. Scholger, S. Schreibman, Z. Schubert, T. Tasovac, M. Thaller, P. Wciślik, M. Werla, T. Zebec, European survey on scholarly practices and digital needs in the arts and humanities – Highlights Report (Jan. 2017). doi:10:5281/zenodo:260101.

13. URL https://doi:org/10:5281/zenodo:260101

14. Gallagher, Shaun. 2017. Enactivist Interventions: Rethinking the Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

15. Gilligan, Carol. 1982. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.

16. Habermas, Jürgen. Communication and the Evolution of Society. Boston: Beacon Press, 1979.

17. Habermas, Jürgen. Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992.

18. Habermas, Jürgen. Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1996.

19. Hegel, Georg F. W. Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

20. Honneth, Axel. 1996. The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts.

21. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

22. Honneth, Axel. 2008. Reification: A New Look at an Old Idea. New York: Oxford University Press.

23. Honneth, Axel. 2014. Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life. Cambridge: Polity Press.

24. Hutto, Daniel D. 2008. Folk Psychological Narratives: The Sociocultural Basis of Understanding Reasons. Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press.

25. Ingram, David. “The Historical Genesis of the Gadamer/Habermas Controversy.” Auslegung: A Journal of Philosophy 10, no. 1/2 (1983): 86-151.

26. Kant, Immanuel. 1998. Critique of Pure Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

27. Kant, Immanuel. 1991. Kant: Political Writings, edited by Reiss, Hans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

28. Kant, Immanuel. 2007. Critique of Judgment. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

29. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1991. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Dordrecht, Boston, and London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

30. Mead, George Herbert. 2015. Mind, Self, and Society: The Definitive Edition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

31. Nancy, Jean-Luc. Being Singular Plural. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

32. Petherbridge, Danielle (ed.) Axel Honneth: Critical Essays: With a Reply by Axel Honneth. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2011.

33. Perniola, Mario. 2001. Estetika 20. stoletja. Ljubljana: Sophia.

34. Ricoeur, Paul, Taylor, George H. (editor). 1986. Lectures on Ideology and Utopia. New York: Columbia University Press.

35. Ricoeur, Paul. 1992. Oneself as Another. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

36. Ricoeur, Paul. 2000. The Just. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

37. D. Gomes, M. Costa, The importance of web archives for humanities, International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 8 (2014) 106–123. doi:10:3366/ijhac:2014:0122. 38. https://extractivism.online/

39. https://www.casemine.com/judgement/uk/5a8ff7a460d03e7f57eb0a5b

40. Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics, Open Book Publishers, 2012


41. understanding of the relation between ethics, economy, and sustainable development and the presentation of product models (Humanities on ethics of biohacking/ biotechnology workshop in Ljubljana, April 4 – April 8, 2022) 42. Gašper Pirc: lectures on new extractivism, April-May 2022 (https://extractivism.online/)

43. All about people 2022 conference: studies on ethical challenges of digital transformation, March 11-March 18, 2022