In the last fifty years, Applied Ethics became more than a philosophical branch. Encouraged by the challenges faced since the introduction of the new technologies — from computers to DNA sequential project, from business growing complexity to Internet and nanotechnologies –, and since the concern for environment and animal protection grew from a few people to a general trend, Applied Ethics was forced to practice a deep specialization exercise.
This specialization process was doubled by an institutionalization of Applied Ethics. Step by step, researchers and decision factors became aware that environment and animal protection, for example, cannot be enforced unless some kind of institutional tools are created. So, they introduced new instruments such as “ethical committee”, “(fair) animal/human experiment procedure”, “code of conduct”/”code of ethics”, “ethical decision tools”, “ethical standards”, “ethics frameworks”, and so on. Some of these were enforced through local and international laws, as it happened with university or hospital ethics committees in Romania, and in Europe in general.
In this context, the main aim of the Bucharest Conference in Applied Ethics is to become one of the major European debate platforms in Applied Ethics and help shaping this field in most of its theoretical and practical aspects. Each year, we concentrate on particular topics and try to approach them from multiple angles, always interested in the practical solutions.
We considered a necessary stage in this institutionalization process to discuss more and more on the instruments brought in this field. BCAE supplies the fundament for such communication by bringing toghether philosophers, scientists, political and administrative decision factors, businessmen and professional activists.
Cristian Ducu, the conference founder and general manager of the Centre for Advanced Research in Management and Applied Ethics, talking at BCAE 2009 about Ethics Councils in Romanian hospitals and pleading for a real debate on their role and function and for coagulating a critical mass of people that are able to support a continuous effort of moral reflection (Romanian version of his presentation)