Research focus: Theory of Poverty and Normative Ethics

Issues of poverty are traditionally located at empirically-working social and economic sciences rather than at philosophy and normative ethics.  Nevertheless, a theory of poverty as well as the basics of poverty research and alleviation must be rooted in normative and evaluative concepts and assumptions.  Decisions about the concept of poverty and the “correct” operationalisation are often not suficiently reflected in a relationship with normative theoretical assumptions.  the same holds true for the normative question, why we should alleviate poverty at all.  Such assumptions concern understandings of justice, the good life or the common good.

A philosophical theorizing and reflection can help clarify key terms and concepts of poverty and to establish a better understanding of the goals and methods of poverty alleviation.  The normative and evaluative research on such issues as a core task of philosophy is therfore also granted wide space at the ZEA. It is an essential part of self-understanding and teh work of the ZEA, that poverty is not a solitary agenda of philosophy, but can only be tackled usefully if they are treated in the inter and intra disciplinary conversation.

This research area is mainly operated by Clemens Sedmak, Otto Neumaier and Gottfried Schweiger