Research Ethics in the Max Planck Society

Tatjana Hörnle Takes Over as Chair of the Ethics Council

June 11, 2024

Tatjana Hörnle is the new chair of the Max Planck Society’s Ethics Council. The legal scholar became a member of the council a year ago. She will now take over as chair in July 2024. Hörnle succeeds Rüdiger Wolfrum, who served the council for many years.

The Ethics Council of the Max Planck Society is committed to advising on and regularly reviewing the responsible handling of research freedom and research risks. It aims to counter the potential misuse of research results as preemptively as possible. With this in mind, the council scrutinizes the use of new scientific techniques (e.g., AI, nanotechnology) and carefully considers new guidelines (e.g., on animal welfare, on medical ethics) by examining their possibilities and risks.

With the founding of this committee in 2007, the Max Planck Society sought to actively break with the conduct of its predecessor organization, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which had ignored ethical boundaries, particularly during the National Socialist era.

The legal scholar and legal philosopher Tatjana Hörnle focuses much of her research on ethical and social issues in the field of criminal law. She explores theories of criminalization, punishment theory, and the assessment of criminal law norms and practices. Hörnle is an expert in the law of sexual offenses and also specializes in the philosophy of human dignity.

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