The Centre for Applied Ethics (CAE) is an interdisciplinary research, teaching, and service institution of Stellenbosch University, based in the Philosophy Department. It reports to the Faculty Board of Arts and Social Sciences. The Centre does work on its own, but also accommodates three units, viz. the Unit for Bioethics, the Unit for Environmental Ethics and the Unit for Business Ethics and Public Integrity.
The Centre concerns itself with the values and ethics that underpin the moral fabric of South Africa - a moral fabric that was in tatters during the apartheid years where respect for decent morality and human rights was largely absent. In order to create a stable, coherent and prosperous society in the present and future, we believe there is a need to examine our values - those enduring beliefs that govern our actions.
The demand for this type of reflection in a post-apartheid South Africa has sprung out of the violence, moral indifference and on-going criminality that continue to plague our society. Using philosophical tools, the Centre reflects on the questions of right and wrong, good and bad that emerge in practical situations in the medical, business and environmental spheres.
This process of deliberation is no simple task in a country where we have both great diversity in cultural values as well as a convergence of values due to the impact of modernisation. While the homogenisation of life worlds and experiences, brought about through technology and the mass media, have created much common ground, the hold on traditional values is often stronger than one might normally believe.
- Conducts interdisciplinary research on applied ethical questions;
- Organises seminars, annual lectures and conferences;
- Offers the only well-established and highly acclaimed Master's Program in Applied Ethics (with specialisation in Biomedical, Environmental or Business Ethics) in South Africa;
- Offers opportunities for accredited Continued Professional Development (CPD) programmes in the medical and business ethics field; and
- Offers advice and consulting services to people who are responsible for policy formulation and legislation.