How strong is your morale

07.09.2011 11:16

How is morality changing?

Sebastian Hollstein Communication / Press Office
Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Philosophers from the Universities of Jena and Hanover organize the workshop "Dynamics of Morals" from 26.-28. September

“You become moral as soon as you are unhappy.” The quote from the French novelist Marcel Proust describes a widespread idea of ​​morality from the middle of the 19th century, which it describes as the antithesis to exuberance or even as a brake on fun. Where pleasure ends, morality begins. Even today, the concept of morality is perceived as very ambivalent. On the one hand, it stands for an inner framework that enables good and fair action. On the other hand, it is often equated with encrusted structures that appear paralyzing and outdated. This difference could be caused by the fact that the moral concepts of every person and of entire societies change.

15 young scientists from all over Germany as well as Switzerland and Austria want to pursue these questions during the workshop “The Dynamics of Morals” from September 26th to 28th at the University of Jena. "First of all we want to clarify what morality actually is," says Dr. Falk Bornmüller from the Institute for Philosophy at the University of Jena, who organized the conference together with his Hanoverian colleague Anne Mazuga.

"Of course there are philosophical definitions of morality, but we would like to approach this in an interdisciplinary manner," said Bornmüller. Scientists from different disciplines were deliberately invited in order to shed light on what morality is perceived as and what reasons there are for it to change from as many perspectives as possible. He doesn't just mean changes over centuries, but also within different stages of a person's life. A young person sometimes imagines something completely different than an old one.

In addition to the philosophers, the social psychologists or cultural scientists among the participants can provide ideas for this. "On the one hand, you certainly need consistency in your moral concept in the course of your life in order to consolidate your personality," explains Falk Bornmüller. "On the other hand, you intuitively question your own principles again and again in different phases of life - moral concepts change."

What does it mean to have a moral attitude? Is there a difference between moral intuitions, beliefs and attitudes? Is it possible or even necessary to actively change moral attitudes? These are questions that the scientists want to pursue in various working groups.

The conference is also intended to be the starting signal for a nationwide network of young scientists that will enable them to work more closely with one another in this area.

Dr. Falk Bornmüller
Institute for Philosophy at the University of Jena
Zwatzengasse 9, 07743 Jena
Tel .: 03641/944120
Email: falk.bornmueller [at]

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Features of this press release:
Cultural studies, philosophy / ethics, psychology
Scientific meetings