Universiteit Maastricht

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

EPET: Centre for Ethics and Politics of Emerging Technologies

Mission statement

EPET is a centre devoted to the normative (ethical and political) reflection on emerging technologies, with a particular focus on how technology co-evolves in conjunction with morality and politics. The goal of our work is to enhance democracy's grip on technology, and to stimulate citizenship in a technological culture.


Instead of the traditional focus on quantitative technological risk, we study technology's 'soft impacts': how technology influences values, norms, aspirations, needs, identities, responsibilities, meanings, and power relations. Accordingly, of great interest is the reverse: how is, and can technology be, affected by cultural, political, and moral factors? As we concentrate on emerging technologies, we reflect on the legitimacy, feasibility, and aims  of exploring future scenarios. For instance: how to deal with uncertainty, how to improve the quality of expectations and, is there an ethics of scientific promising?


We pride ourselves on our ability to draw inspiration from diverse and rich theoretical traditions and disciplines like Philosophy, Science and Technology Studies, Ethnography, Innovation studies, History, and the Arts. We aim to be creative with regard to the methodology but also with regard to the outcome of our work: we not only write books and academic articles, but also participate in public debates, develop techno-moral scenarios and vignettes, organize workshops, and more. We want to engage in the field and with the field: in the laboratory, in the hospital, in the political arena, and in science cafes. 


The raison d'être of this society is to help each other to develop these interests by collaborating with contents, practices, methods, and literature.