Workshop: "A Normative Framework for Envisioning the Future"

May 24, 2019

Lecture Room 3A, Institut für Philosophie, NIG


A Discourse on Legal, Moral and Technical Norms in New Technologies 

Norms channel behavior and enable cooperation; they prescribe actions and regulate misbehavior; they erect barriers and open new fields of practices in ever-changing societies. In short, norms are multi-functional entities. This workshop examines the functions and roles of norms in the field of new technologies with a special emphasis on nano-technology. It is presupposed that on the one hand norms in this field of inquiry remain what they are. They are recommendations that channel behavior, they govern misbehavior and erect barriers in order to protect the community from harm. Yet, on the other hand norms have changed their characteristics and their reality in significant ways. Norms have become an integral part of regulatory devices; norms are enshrined in standards that spur innovation and foreclose dangerous scenarios; norms are also requested as codes of conduct that guide researchers and scientists in new fields of technology.

This workshop brings together researchers from law, ethics, social sciences and natural sciences in order to examine norms in new technologies (including nano-technology). This workshop looks at norms in its literal sense as guidelines that are defined in legal texts, in recommendations and in codes of conduct. We shall investigate how norms have changed their outlook and their functions. In particular, we will try to draw a picture of how moral, legal, and technical norms should work together in order to provide a well-structured institutional frame for new technologies.

Standardization in the Nano-Field: For the Common Good?

May 19, 2017

Interdisciplinary Workshop at the University of Vienna


New materials and products, as for instance products containing manufactured nano-materials, do not enter the market without processes of standardization. Standardization procedures are set up to guarantee the safety and quality of new products, to facilitate innovation and trade, and to enable efficiency and compatibility. They likewise contribute to shaping research, production, and the release of materials into the environment in a significant way. This workshop seeks to explore the roles of and the interests behind standardization in the nano-field. In particular, we will discuss in how far and in which ways standardization may contribute to the common good. This includes a discussion of the goals and mechanisms of standardization, of standards as either facilitating or restricting tools, and of their diversity enhancing or diversity-reducing effects. The workshop provides an interdisciplinary setting in which scholars from economics, ethics, law, and social and political sciences will investigate these issues.

The workshop is organized by Angela Kallhoff and Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg (Research Platform Nano-Norms-Nature, University of Vienna) in collaboration with Iris Eisenberger (Institute of Law, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna).

Click here for the detailed program.

No registration required. 

Location: University of Vienna, NIG, Seminar Room 3B, 3rd floor, Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna



Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg

+43/1/4277 25800