Social Ethics

Photo Courtesy of Ancient Lamp Museum

" is now the social scientist's foremost political and intellectual risk...
to make clear the elements of contemporary uneasiness and indifference.
And, indeed, all of us need to ask ourselves: is it enough to explain the why's and how's
of a social problem and leave it at that?
Are we to maintain a detached attitude, or, are we to go further
and speculate on what solutions are possible?"

... C. Wright Mills



For thousands of years, humanity has attempted to reach a consensus regarding what constitutes the ideal society and how the study of ethics can contribute to social justice. In our own era, we continue the project in the social sciences, researching how our attitudes, practices and policies can help bring about a social environment in which individual and communal well-being are mutually compatible within a sustainable environment.

We face a unique challenge because technology has the power to improve as well as harm the human condition. An informed study of ethics requires us to be ready to consider the opportunity costs of different social alternatives. And, sometimes, there are no rules to guarantee successful outcomes. Informed that the best of intentions sometimes bring about unintended and undesired consequences, we approach ethics from a multiplicity of viewpoints, ready to evaluate the opportunity costs and possible consequences of each aspect of social change. It is an area of social research that requires detachment as well as commitment, and the readiness to examine existing and possible ideals in view of the developmental needs of the human community.

Theory informs and inspires our commitment...while applied research helps us test the viability of our ideals. The study of ethics is, therefore, a challenging and rewarding area that allows us to practice a multidisciplinary social science that addresses a variety of areas including: family organization, civility standards and character education, media communications, the natural environment, work and organizations, bioethics and health care, human rights, ethnic relations, international relations and global development, science, research methodology and standards, gender relations, business practices and management, education, war and peace, religion.

--- Benet Davetian


University of San Diego Ethics Web
Excellent ethics theory resources, applied ethics links, and extensive bank of video lectures

Science, Technology and Society Links

Ethics Video Archive

W.. Maurice Young Center for Applied Ethics

Ethics Web Canada

Stanford University Ethical Decision-Making Site

Makkula Center for Applied Ethics

Center for Environmental Philosophy

Numerous links to international organizations

Duke University Kenan Institute

Human Rights Research and Education Center

International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life

International Society for Environmental Ethics

Canadian Bioethics Society

American Bioethics Advisory Committee

Human Population and World Hunger

Environmental Ethics


Commission de l'éthique de la science et technologie

Société Canadienne pour l'étude de l'éthique appliquée

Université de Laval: comités de déontologie

Groupe de recherche Ethos

Centre de recherche en éthique de L'université de Montréal

Centre be bioéthique

Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada

Liens utiles pour le bioéthique

Éthique et recherche (fr)

Centre Agora

Éthique et santé (fr)

Centre d'economie et d'Éthique pour l'environment