1. What do you reply to someone who pretends that a think tank should not get involved in ethics, since for those who have the necessary intellectual capacities, there are the universities, and for those who do not, there are faith, law and experience?

    • A think tank in ethics offers something different than faith, law and experience: it is about being a place destined to transmit the tools of practical reasoning to whomever is interested. And in order for those persons to know about this alternative and to have the chance to be interested in, it takes an appropriate organisation for its diffusion and promotion; a think tank can fill in this place.

  2. What do you reply to someone who pretends that a think tank in ethics is useless, since either what it produces is too abstract to be used by non-academics, or too concrete, such that one would rather refer to experts in the relevant fields?

    • Every human being is confronted with moral choices. Ethics is therefore no niche reserved for academics, and neither is it a domain of expertise destined only to the specialised decision makers – although academics and experts are well placed to inform and structure ethical debates. Furthermore, normative principles as well as values guide our actions and decisions on a daily basis. In order for a decision with ethical implications to be informed and rational, the underlying normative bases have to be exposed. We think that one needs to combine an overview of the empirical facts with ethical skills, and that this should be done so that the result is comprehensible and can be used by non-academics.

  3. What do you reply to someone who pretends that a Western (or a Swiss) think tank can only talk about the West (Switzerland)?

    • Every civilisation and culture possesses the capacity to know others. The fact that this is not easy does not imply that it is impossible. Besides, a reason that is based on a moral value or an ethical norm has a potential of “reasonable universalization”, taking into consideration era, culture, and other important circumstances. What matters, according to us, is to define the scope of application of a moral reason by giving justified arguments.

  4. What do you reply to someone who pretends that think tanks in the field of ethics are either lackeys of some entity, client or partner, or so impartial that its position is inapplicable/useless/unintelligible?

    • The objective of a think tank is to exert influence on the political sphere and on civil society. However, contrary to most think tanks, Pro Ethica is open to these two communities, in the sense that it offers the possibility to criticize and control the product of its activities. In this regard, we think that Pro Ethica‘s openness can only benefit its impartial aims (view in particular our charter for this subject).

  5. Who are the target groups of Pro Ethica, and why would they be interested in its message?

    • Every member of civil society, as moral agent and citizen of a polity (politics transports normative implicits), is a target. The main reason to be interested in our work is simply the desire to understand why ethics does not depend either on individual beliefs or on arbitrary stipulations.

  6. As a believer in a particular religion, what can I contribute to Pro Ethica?

    • Inasmuch as a religion or a tradition includes ethical considerations, it constitues one of the numerous sources on which our work depends. You can contribute your knowledge and your experience. Moreover, every good argument is interesting, independently of its presuppositions.

  7. If an individual, a group or an institution, to whom Pro Ethica is linked, carries out a legal but gravely immoral act, what should Pro Ethica do?

    • The statutes provide for the exclusion of a member in violation of our objectives or our charter. The charter provides for the suspension of the mandate or the collaboration with the third party in question.