General Information

Joint workshop organized in co-operation between COST Action IS1201 on Disaster Bioethics and the Institute of Ethics and Bioethics, University of Prešov, Slovakia.

The COST Action on Disaster Bioethics and the Institute of Ethics and Bioethics, University of Prešov (Slovakia) would like to invite you to a workshop on Moral Theories and Disaster. The workshop will take place on 13th - 15th May 2015 at the University of Prešov in Prešov, Slovakia.
The aim of the workshop is to stimulate discussion on moral theories and their usefulness and role in disasters and disaster relief situations. The outcome of the workshop will be an edited book volume or a special issue of a journal which would present and compare different moral theories for use in disaster bioethics. The workshop will bring together scholars with research interests in moral theories and disaster bioethics.

Workshop Background and Description

Despite scientific and technological developments, contemporary societies are often afflicted by catastrophes and disasters. The earthquake and tsunami that occurred in East Japan in 2011, the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, hurricane Katrina in the USA in 2005, or the earthquakes in Turkey and in Greece in 1999 are just a few examples of current environmental disasters. But disasters need not have only of a natural cause. People in various parts of the world have suffered the so-called social disasters ranging from transportation accidents, civil wars, terrorist acts, to sudden unemployment and unforeseeable, debilitating financial conditions. Sometimes disasters involve both natural and human causes at the same time. In any case, disasters are very complex and unpredictable situations with far-reaching consequences which affect a wide population.
Disaster bioethics, a new discipline approaching these issues, has been recently formed to evaluate and analyze these complex and difficult cases of disasters and the matters of how to respond ethically to them. To date, scientists and professionals from various disciplines involved with the subject matter have reflected on the ethical norms and principles which could help to answer the ethical challenges of disasters and disaster relief actions. Policy-makers, medical and humanitarian professionals, environmental scientists, etc. have already worked and contributed to this vibrant discussion.
Despite the moral complexity of this problem, an in-depth analysis of the role of moral theories in disasters and disaster relief has not yet developed. In order to address these vital issues and analyze their complexity, we are organizing a workshop on Moral theories and Disaster. The aim of the workshop will be to examine disasters and disaster relief through different theoretical approaches, i.e. virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, non-utilitarian consequentialism, ethics of care, phenomenology, etc. The topics are expected to draw equally on the different moral theories and on the complexity of disasters and disaster relief situations. The workshop will also emphasise the practical implementation of moral theories in disasters and disaster relief situations.

Practical Information

The Workshop will be held at the University of Prešov in Prešov, Slovakia.

Those interested in participating in the workshop should send an abstract of maximum 250 words to Katarína Komenská (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by 15th February 2015. Those whose abstracts are accepted for publication must also agree to read and comment in writing and at the workshop on two other accepted papers. These papers will be provided two weeks before the workshop.
The committee for evaluation of the abstracts will announce the results within 14 days of the abstract submission deadline. COST funding is available for a maximum of 10 participants. Only those whose abstracts are accepted and who satisfy all COST criteria (see will be reimbursed according to the usual COST regulations. Additional participants are welcome to attend the workshop using alternative funding arrangements, whether their abstracts are accepted or not.

The full draft of the accepted papers is expected to be submitted by 10th April 2015. As the workshop will lead to a development of an edited volume of essays published by an internationally recognized publisher or a special issue of a journal, all drafts will be reviewed by two other workshop participants just in time for the workshop in Prešov (13th – 15th May 2015), where they will be exhaustively discussed to provide feedback. After the workshop, a final draft will be submitted by 31st May 2015 for a peer-review process. Further guidelines will be provided by the publisher at that time for formatting and referencing which must be strictly adhered to. NOTE: publication of presented papers cannot be guaranteed until after satisfactory completion of the peer-review process.

Early Stage Researchers (ESR)* are warmly welcome to participate in the workshop. COST funding will be reserved for a number of ESR participants.

Experts in disasters and/or moral theory from non-COST countries are also encouraged to participate in the project, but unfortunately, COST funds cannot be used to fund their participant. In a limited number of cases, those based in COST Near Neighbour Countries may be reimbursed (see for a list of countries). Such arrangements can take weeks to organise, so please contact Sarah Hayes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible with questions about this arrangement.

General questions or comments about the workshop can be addressed to Katarína Komenská, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


* COST definition: a research student or a researcher during the first 8 years after finishing a PhD or equivalent professional qualification.