University of Presov, Faculty of Arts
COST Action IS1201 Workshop, 13th – 15th May 2015

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 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.


Wednesday May 13th

13:30-15:00 Registration and Welcome Coffee

Opening Remarks

Vasil Gluchman, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, University of Presov, Slovakia
Donal O'Mathuna, Dublin City University, Ireland; Chair of COST Action IS1201


Conflict in Ukraine from the perspective of neighborhood countries

Alexander Duleba, University of Presov, Slovakia
Zuzana Fialova, People in Peril, Bratislava, Slovakia

Poster 13May2015

Download the poster here

17:00-17:30 Discussion

Thursday May 14th


First Session (2 Speakers)

Ayesha Ahmad: The Morality of Disasters: Time and Space in the lived experience of a disastrous event
Ignaas Devisch: Victims of disasters: how to understand and approach their suffering
Chair: Donal O'Mathuna

10:30-11:00 Coffee Break

Second Session (2 speakers)

Vasil Gluchman: Disaster Issues in Non-Utilitarian Consequentialism (Ethics of Social Consequences)
Jan Kalajtzidis: Ethics of social consequences and decision making during the disasters
Chair: Wendy Drozenova

12:30-14:00 Lunch

Third Session (3 speakers)

Donal O'Mathuna: Ideal and Nonideal Moral Theory for Disaster Bioethics
Vilius Dranseika: Natural Evil, Human Evil, and Moral Responsibility for Outcomes of Natural Disasters
Peter Kakuk: Beautiful theories and ugly compromises? On the ethics of decision-making in disaster settings
Chair: Ignaas Devisch

16:15-16:30 Coffee Break

Fourth Session (2 speakers)

Eleni Kalokairinou: Why helping the victims of disasters makes me a better person? Towards an anthropological theory of humanitarian action
Katarina Komenska: Virtue Ethics Applied to Disaster Issues
Chair: Viera Bilasova

19:00 Conference Dinner

Friday May 15th


Fifth Session (3 speakers)

Viera Bilasova and Alexandra Smatanova: Methodological Potential of Personalization of Deontological Moral Theory and Disaster Ethics
Wendy Drozenova: Moral act sub specie temporis
Lukas Svana: Charlie Hebdo and the lesser evil theory

Chair: Katarina Komenska


Closing Remarks over Coffee

Vasil Gluchman, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, University of Presov, Slovakia
Donal O'Mathuna, Dublin City University, Ireland; Chair of COST Action IS1201

12:00-17:00 Trip to the Refugee Centre in Humenné
Note: Stopping by for lunch on the way

Download the programme as pdf here.


You can download a collection of the presentations' abstracts here (pdf).

Published Workshop Results

A number of papers presented during the workshop has been published (open access) by the Journal "Human Affairs". You can access them via

Group Photo

PresovWorkshopGroupPhoto thb