Recent years have witnessed an increasing interest in interdisciplinary research in political ethics, ie the study of practical ethical problems in relation to politics. Research in political ethics takes up conceptual and normative as well as empirical issues and, as a result, draws on disciplines such as philosophy, politics, economics, and law.

Research areas

Examples of research areas are:

  • climate change and justice
  • democracy and inclusion
  • the concept of discrimination
  • multiculturalism and recognition
  • priority setting within health care systems
  • war and international conflict and
  • the responsibility of rich countries towards poor countries.

Nordic research cooperation

Diverse as these topics are, they involve common and important methodological concerns, like what the relationship is between general political and ethical principles and practical ethical analysis. Moreover, there is a unity of central theories and concepts, for instance the concepts of responsibility and justice, political and democratic legitimacy. Finally, most members work within the methodological framework set by reflective equilibrium. Accordingly, they prize virtues such as conceptual clarity, a perspicuous argumentative structure, coherent and comprehensive accounts of judgements about political ethics, and empirically informed analysis of applied ethical problems. For these reasons cooperation between Nordic researchers working within the field of political ethics makes good sense.

Presently, Nordic researchers are well accomplished within political ethics, but there is little interchange between different research groups and much reason to believe that more interchange will further strengthen Nordic research within the field.



The Nordic Network for Political Ethics aims at strengthening Nordic research in political ethics. More specifically, among its aims are:

  1. to integrate existing Nordic research in political ethics
  2. to facilitate interdisciplinary research contacts, especially among researchers working within philosophy and political science(primarily) and economics, law and medicine (secondarily)
  3. to improve the quality of education for PhD students within political ethics
  4. to strengthen the international visibility of Nordic research within NNPE area
  5. to initiate internationally competitive research projects of high quality
  6. to achieve recognized status as a Nordic Centre of Excellence (or some equivalent status) within five years.