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Practical Philosophy

Investigator in charge: José Manuel Santos

Starting with the matrix question about humanities, "how to live?", the group of PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY begins by specifying the issue from the perspective of individual existence, that is, in the ethical field. However, living "humanly" means living in a "political" community. Questions about ethics and political thought were always at the heart of the humanities. This group develops research in normative ethics and applied ethics, mainly applied to communication and politics. In the case of the latter, the aim is to study the implications of ethical normativity in the political arena. This leads to, for example, projects on the theory and practice of human rights. In the field of political normativity, the main research objective is democracy, considered as the most appropriate form of political community for a good human life. However, modern democracy, both representative and liberal, raises obvious issues. One of the key work areas of PPh Group will be the study of these problems taking into account the classics of political thought and modern theories of democracy.


This group has the following general objectives:


The aims in the area of theoretical Ethics will be the study of practical rationality, and as a specific objective the analysis of moral reasons for action. In the area of applied ethics, there will be an application to politics with the aim to determine the criteria and standards of "public ethics". Another objective of applied ethics will focus on the normative analysis of behaviors in the field of organizational communication and public relations.


In the area of political philosophy the more theoretical objective will be the study of the political thought of relevant authors with the aim of applying the research to more specific political issues, such as, for instance, the theories of the State or democracy.

In the area of political theory, the central objective is the study of current problems of representative democracy: crisis of representation, sovereignty, the welfare state, or democracy itself. Some of these problems have to do with media and political communication in the public sphere, and we aim to clarify these phenomena in collaboration with the Communication and Media Group.


In the area of politics, the Practical Philosophy Group has as its objective the study of two topics relating to human rights in the sphere of internal policy: the objective will be to assess the effectiveness, i.e. the effective respect of those rights. Moreover the alleged excesses of "welfarism" could cause one of the dysfunctions of the institutions of the modern State.


In the area of contemporary thought and philosophy of culture, a general objective is the more theoretical study of relevant contemporary thinkers. This study provides theoretical instruments for the analysis of ethical problems and political and cultural issues.


An important overall objective in this area is the study of the phenomenon of "secularization", which, besides being of great importance for the understanding of modern and contemporary culture, not only European but also the globalized society, has important political implications

Support:
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
União Europeia
Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional
Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade
Universidade da Beira Interior