Socratic dialogue on responsible innovation – a methodological experiment in empirical ethics


  • Bjørn K. Myskja NTNU, Trondheim (ethical theory, political philosophy, Kant, food ethics, freedom of conscience, bioethics, ethics of: genomics, genetic modification, gene editing, agriculture, aquaculture, reproductive technologies)
  • Alexander Myklebust NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology



This article presents an experiment in using Socratic dialogue as a methodological approach to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in an interdisciplinary life sciences research project. The approach seeks to avoid imposing a set of predetermined substantive norms by engaging the researchers in knowledge-seeking group discussions. We adapted Svend Brinkmann’s method of epistemic interviewing, in order to facilitate reflection on normative issues concerning responsibility in research and innovation in two research group sessions. Two elements characterize this approach, relating it to empirical ethics methodologies: (1) the aim is not to map and analyse opinions, but to develop knowledge based on the dialogue; and (2) the facilitators of the discussion are also active participants in the dialogue rather than mere “spectators”. Through a description of the approach and discussion of some key challenges, we show the method’s potential as a supplement to the catalogue of RRI approaches and argue that it serves a dual purpose of contributing to knowledge production and reflexivity.

Keywords: Epistemic interviewing, bioethics, responsibility, reflexivity


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How to Cite

Myskja, B. K., & Myklebust, A. (2023). Socratic dialogue on responsible innovation – a methodological experiment in empirical ethics. Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics.



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