by Martin Schmetz
Last week, I wrote a rambling post about the future of IR theories and the challenges posed by current political events. The starting point for the post was a certain narrative of how the field of International Relations developed: Certain political events created challenges that the dominant theory at that point couldn’t cope with. Thus, it was replaced by another theory that was better equipped to deal with it. That narrative, however, might not really describe what happened, even it if is often how students are first introduced to the development of the field of IR (I know I was).
The ethical consequences of academic research in terms of its capacity to induce insecurity is an old topic of discussion that has affected various disciplines in different ways. Generally speaking, the more abstract the output of a given discipline, the less frequently it comes up in debates about what limits academics should put on their research activities.
Let’s start with the natural sciences. Ethics are such a huge topic in the highly empirical fields of medicine and biology that, when Europe says “Ethics Committee” they mean „medical ethics“, and there are entire NGOs devoted to the ethics of biological research. For their potential to inform weapons development, chemists and physicists are also generally fairly aware of the potential ethical consequences of their work in terms of security. Einstein famously regretted encouraging the American government to pursue atomic weapons research, and Robert Oppenheimer, who led that research in the Manhattan Project, could hardly bear to remember his role in creating the most destructive of weapons.
Der zweite Teil unserer Sammlung an relevanten akademischen Stellenanzeigen der Bereiche Internationale Beziehungen und Sicherheitspolitik aus dem Juni 2013.