"...it is now the social scientist's foremost political and intellectual risk...
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
International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life