Department

Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge – BAS

Department of Ethical Studies

I. Research Profile

The Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (ISSK-BAS) was founded in July 2010 by decision of the General Assembly of the Academy as a successor of the Institute for Philosophical Research, of the Institute of Sociology, and of the Centre for Science Studies and History of Science. The Culture, Values and Morality Department was established six months later, in November 2010. In March 2014 the Department of Ethical Studies was established by scientists from Department of Culture, Values and Morality and by decision of the Scientific Council of the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge.

The members of the department are focused on a common research theme – the operation and dynamics of moral values in contemporary social life and culture. Our studies examine the morality of contemporary Bulgarian society in a situations of social and biotechnological risk. The topics of our research cover as well the conservation and transformation of the Bulgarian national moral values in the context of European integration and globalization. The studies advocate the need of a unified cultural framework, able to counter the invasion of cultural sphere by what belongs to the sphere of intimate, able to stop the retreat to ethnocentrism, to block the resuscitation of ethnocultural stereotypes, to mold our cultural identity and, by doing so, to pave the way for a future transformation of national identity into civil and European one. We are studying the features of the general cultural environment in order to explain the ways in which it warrants the embeddedness of national mainstays into a common moral sphere. By comparing moral frameworks important to Bulgarian national sphere, we are trying to find out the ethical levers enabling one to bring influence on national identity.

The efficiency of the multidisciplinary approach we rely on is founded, most importantly, on the human capital of the department which brings together experts with extensive erudition in moral philosophy and applied ethics. The department has already developed a network of researchers that will be upheld and developed along the lines of the already established tradition to organize national academic events appealing not only to experts with different disciplinary background but also to university professors and to representatives of social bodies and political agencies interested in discussing the burning moral issues in our social life. The excellent performance of the members of the department in international and national research projects, their impressive academic productivity and the high value of the citation index of their works attest to the potential of our research team.

II. Fields of Expertise

Professional field: Philosophy – Ethics

Department of Ethical Studies is the only research unit in Bulgaria, which has as its subject the study and the analysis of the morality in the Bulgarian society. The creation of unified national ethical space and the successful involvement in the international ethical space are goals consistently asserted for the last ten years by the selection of appropriate research topics, the inclusion of Bulgarian society and the interested social entity in the discussions on risks and moral problems of Bulgarian society, the successful steps in project activities and international cooperation, the development of personnel potential of the department.

Ethics and social risk, the Bulgarian business ethos, ethics and biotechnological risk, morality and national identity, psychology of morality, ethics and communication, ethical codes, ethics of development are among the department’s priority themes. The applied perspective in studies is a priority in the European programs for project financing of science with special emphasis on its ethical dimensions. A goal of the reform at the BAS is the inclusion of Bulgaria in this global orientation toward science for society. Interdisciplinarity, set as a principle in the formation of ISSK, also involves the development of applied studies.

The National Conferences on Ethics (nine by 2014) demonstrate the importance of selected research topics and the creativity of the public discussions, in which the relevant scientific communities, major governmental institutions and NGOs are involved. These conferences are the basis for issuing of series of themed collections on ethics and recommendation analyses. The international cooperation has great prospects since the ethical issues are part of all international research projects and the potential of Ethical Studies Department, together with the established national ethical network, are of significant importance in these areas.