The Interdisciplinary Research Lab for Bioethics (IRLaB) is part of the Department of Applied Philosophy and Ethics of the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The purpose of IRLaB is to create a new interdisciplinary research environment with a focus on bioethics – the ethics of biological and medical research and medical practice.
IRLaB is part of the Department for Applied Philosophy and Ethics of the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Our mission is to bring together researchers specialized in philosophy, sociology, cognitive science, and biomedical science. It is the first research center in the Czech Republic connecting these fields.
Recent bioethical discussions are often about formal regulations of the use of technology in the sense of applied scientific knowledge for medical or biological research purposes (i.e. so-called principle-based theories). These discussions are clearly important. However, what appears to be lacking in the field is a rigorous study of our actual experience of the body in relation to values and norms that are part of our social surroundings, in particular the social imaginaries of communities (e.g. social values of body health or body fitness).
Rather than a top-down model, we propose to develop a bottom-up model that explains how embodied subjects actually experience these values and norms in the context of the use of technology in health care and medical research. Our research lab investigates cases in health care in which technology alters or affects a person’s body and how persons ethically evaluate and experience this change, by critically assessing the available values and norms of social imaginaries.
The methodology we propose for this investigation is based on phenomenological hermeneutics, as well as theories of ‘enactivism,’ which both examine embodied subjectivity in physical and social environments.