Ethics as a branch of philosophy interests itself in exploring morality and the creation of the systems of thought from which it is possible to formulate moral rules as well as determine the origin of moral standards and the scope of their applicability. In informal language this word often means the evaluation of human conduct and associated expectations of specific behaviour in conflict or ambiguous situations.
We wish to devote Humboldt-Kolleg to these problems. The turbulent evolution of culture and new ways of communication not only make human existence more difficult, but also often generate conflicts and puts us in necessity of choosing our behaviour.
During the planned conference we wish to concentrate on various aspects of ethics as the source of moral and legal standards as well as on situations when there is a conflict between these standards and human behaviour.
Religion is a significant source of different ethical systems. These systems have many elements similar or in common, but in many others they are totally different. And this is the point where questions regarding coexistence or tolerance appear.
Toruń seems to be the right place for the discussion of ethics and tolerance. That is exactly where the Colloquium charitativum took place in 1645 – the only one ecumenical meeting devoted to reconciliation of the Catholics with the Protestants.
We are going to pay special attention to a common understanding of "ethical behaviour" and problems such as:
• scientific thoroughness and fraud, plagiarism, commissioned writing,
• corruption and ethics,
• codes of ethics of various professions, mainly of public trust: journalists, judges, doctors, lawyers,
• unwritten ethical norms binding in various social groups,
• the influence of ethics on the development of law,
• ethical behaviour in medicine – personal opinions, conscience, morality,
• human behaviour in extreme situations,
• human beings and nature.
We are going to devote a special session to the relationship between scientists belonging to different generations and to such questions as: what the mentor-student relationship should look like, what the role and ethos of the university professor is, if the current support system of young scientists' development is appropriate and if a professor has a chance to play the role of master and founder of the science school. The problem of nepotism in science will be also discussed.
The conference programme includes plenary sessions and discussion panels with the participation of invited specialists in the above-mentioned disciplines. Traditionally, the Young Researchers Session will be a vital part of the Kolleg. This session aims at the propagation of Humboldtian ideas, winning talented candidates, and encouranging them to apply for the scholarships of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
We hope that the topicality of the proposed conference theme will encourage many Humboldtians from Poland and abroad to participate in the conference and and that the prepared programme will make possible lively interdisciplinary discussion attended by participants of different ages representing various professional and life experiences.