Ethics Research Group

Welcome to the Ethics Research Group's webpage!



The Ethics Research Group (ERG) is hosted by the Philosophy Department at UiT. It is a group consisting of philosophers at UiT, as well as a network of external collaborators. The group is led by accosiate professor Heine A. Holmen (chair) and associate professor Ivar R. Labukt (vice-chair) and currently holds twelwe members (for more details see Members).

We have devoted ourselves to work on some of the most fundamental and vexing issues in ethics, moral philosophy and meta-ethics to raise questions like: How should one live one's life? Why should one be moral or ethically virtuous? Is morality objective and universal, or is it a human construction or cultural artefact? Are there any true moral principles or universal virtues? Must self-interest be subdued by morality? Does evil exist and can we hold genuine evil-doers morally responsible? How does morality fit in with the rest of science and what else we know about the world?

As a part of this work, we organize conferences and workshops on a frequent basis here in Tromsø and with contributions from internationally acclaimed philosophers and researchers, as well as organizing reading and writing groups. There are also Ph.D. and Post Doc fellowships, whose projects and appointments are associated with the group.

We are a group in expansion and encourage all those who are interested to contact us, subsribe to our mailing list, participate to our events, as well as vouch to join our research network. See Contact us for more information.


Research topics

Our main focus is different theoretical challenges and problems pertaining to the normative authority of ethics and morality that are relevant to the role that morality and ethics can or ought to play in our lives. We address this issue from a range of theoretical persectives, both contemporary and historical. We organize this work around four interrelated fields of meta-ethical inquiry: (1) value theory and normative pluralism; (2) action theory and moral psychology; (3) moral metaphysics, realism and constructivism; and (4) quality of life.

In particular, we focus on the following questions :

(1) Value Theory - Normative Pluralism

The question of how the normative authority of morality relates to other sorts of normative claims and values.

(2) Action theory - Moral Psychology

The question of whether the nature and normative authority of morality has some footing or leverage in our nature - that is, in our nature as agents, persons and psychological subjects.

(3) Moral metaphysics - Realism and Constructivism

The question of whether (or how) our comitments to the normative authority of morality fit in with what else we believe about the world.

(4) Quality of life - Welfare, Happiness and Meaning

The question of how the quality of life - and relevant notions, such as meaning, happiness, welfare and so on - relates to the nature and normative authority of morality.

Also see our Research profile for more detailed descriptions of these respective research fields and topics.