Thursday, October 16, 2014

Call for Abstracts: The Human Sciences after the Decade of the Brain – Perspectives on the Neuro-Turn in the Social Sciences and the Humanities

CSEP Director and co-organizer of the conference, Dr. Elisabeth Hildt, invites interested scholars to submit an abstract by December 15, 2014.

The Human Sciences after the Decade of the Brain – Perspectives on the Neuro-Turn in the SocialSciences and the Humanities.

Philosophy Department, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany

March 30 – March 31, 2015


It is now almost 25 years since the U.S. Congress authorized the then president, George Bush sr., to proclaim the decade beginning January 1, 1990 as the Decade of the Brain. This proclamation intimulated a number of initiatives that substantially benefitted neuroscience research in the following years. Alongside this rise of neuroscience and the corresponding increase of public awareness, many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences have shifted towards more brain based and evolutionary informed approaches. New research fields such as Neuroethics, Neuroeconomics, Cognitive Cultural Studies, Neuroaesthetics or even Neurotheology have gained a following. In addition to surveying the mutual interactions between the cognitive neurosciences and
the social sciences and humanities, this interdisciplinary symposium investigates the methodological and conceptual prospects and perils of choosing a neuroscience approach to the social sciences and the humanities. The symposium aims to shed light on a broad range of epistemological, historical and sociological questions about the purported neuro-turn in the social sciences and the humanities including (but not limited to):

  • How and why have brain based approaches to the social sciences and humanities developed?
  • What exactly distinguishes cognitive and brain based approaches from their traditional counterparts?
  • How are brain-based sub-disciplines of the traditional humanities institutionalized?
  • How does research policy contribute to the development of a neuro-turn in the social sciences and the humanities?
  • Are there common motives for turning to cognitive neuroscience approaches in the different disciplines of social sciences and humanities? If so, which?
  • Are there any historical examples of a turn to brain based approaches in the social sciences and the humanities?
  • If so, what could be learned from this history for practicing social sciences and humanities today?
  • What, if anything, can the humanities and the social sciences learn from the neurosciences?
  • What, if anything, can the neurosciences learn from the social sciences and the humanities?
  • How does neuroscience change the social sciences and the humanities?
  • How do the humanities and the social sciences change neuroscience?

We invite submission of abstracts of 300-500 words from researchers in relevant disciplines such as history of science, science and technology studies, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, cognitive neuroscience, psychology or any sub-discipline of the social sciences or the humanities, which approaches its subject from a cognitive science perspective. Abstracts should be emailed to leefmann[at] by December 15, 2014. Applicants will be notified by mid-January 2015 whether their abstract has been accepted.

This symposium is part of the international project ‘The Neuro-Turn in the Social Sciences and the Humanities’ (NESSHI) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). For information on the project see:

Monday, October 13, 2014

IIT Students, Interested in an Essay Contest?

Every year, the Elie Wiesel Foundation sponsors an essay contest for undergraduate juniors and seniors. This year, the topic is:

"Articulate with clarity an ethical issue that you have encountered and analyze what it has taught you about ethics and yourself."

Have some ideas? Want some inspiration? Stop by the Ethics Center to chat!

We would love to have one or more IIT students be a part of this competition. Essays should be between 3,000 to 4,000 words and can be about any topic, as long as it explores the theme of ethics. The Foundation is offering a $5,000 cash prize for the winning essay. Final submission for the essays is December 8, 2014.

 For more information, visit the contest web site.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Come learn more about the IIT Ethics Bowl Team on August 22!

Welcome Students!

Please come visit the table of the IIT Ethics Bowl Team this Friday, August 22 from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. just outside Hermann Hall. You will be able to meet members of the team, sign up for more information, and learn how to take part in the Upper Midwest Ethics Bowl competition this November.

For more information, please find us in Hawk Link or email Kelly Laas at

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ethics Center Closed for July 4th

The Ethics Center will be closed this Friday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day.  We will resume normal hours on Monday, July 7th.

Have an excellent holiday weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Judges Need for Ethics Bowl Competition, July 7, 2014

The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions invites faculty, staff and interested graduate students to participate as a judge or moderator in the Boeing Scholars Academy Ethics Bowl on Monday, July 7, 2014 from 2-5 p.m. on the Main Campus.

The IIT Boeing Scholars Academy brings 100 high-achieving Chicago area high school students together for a four-week, thematic program that introduces them to diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career fields and involves the students in searching for solutions to pressing world problems with both significant technological and ethical aspects.

The Ethics Bowl competition on July 7 will challenge the students to take what they have learned during the first weeks of the program a step further, asking them to work as a group to analyze and discuss a series of ethics cases concerning world problems such as issues surrounding emerging technologies, the environment, disease prevention, crime, and issues related to the current economy and job creation.

There will be a 45 minute training session for judges and moderators at 2 pm after which there will be one round of ethics bowl. The deadline to volunteer is June 30, 2014.

If you have questions or are interested in being a part of the competition, email Kelly Laas at

Thursday, May 8, 2014

CSEP Receives NSF Award to help improve the Ethics Education Library and the Online Ethics Center

The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions has received a 5 year grant from the National Science Federation for $158,868.00 to help build an Online Resource Center for Ethics in Science and Engineering. This Online Center will assist scientists and engineers find the resources and support they need to recognize and address the ethical implications of their work.

This project expands the National Academy of Engineering’s Online Ethics Center (OEC) to be the go-to online source for these critical resources and support for ethics and ethics education in science and engineering. Collaboration with the Ethics Education Library (EEL) of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions will provide access to a wider array of materials than will be housed in the OEC and promote interactions with other repositories of ethics-related information. The OEC and the EEL will redesign and augment its resources so that ethical and social justice considerations associated with science and engineering 1) are incorporated in the work of practicing engineers and scientists, 2) inform faculty teaching and course development, 3) are broadly appreciated by undergraduate and graduate students

Kelly Laas, the librarian of the Ethics Center, will be heading CSEP's involvement in this project.