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LC2 Philosophy of Responsible Innovation

January 10, 2024 - January 19, 2024

This course discusses the main philosophical issues in relation to Responsible Innovation, an emerging concept in the EU context which highlights the relevance of social-ethical issues in research and innovation practices. This emerging concept calls for philosophical reflection on the nature, scope and applicability of responsibility and innovation in innovation practices in general, and the way social-ethical issues can be applied and addressed in specific fields like business, healthcare and energy in particular. Topics that will be covered include the nature of responsibility in responsible innovation, the role of societal values in innovation and value sensitive design, philosophical reflections on the role of knowledge and risk in innovation, constructive technology assessment and governance of responsible innovation, Responsible Innovation in the public sector (healthcare), responsible innovation in the private sector.

Students get to know some of the main positions in relation to philosophical issues in responsible innovation, the main arguments in the relevant debates and insight in the dilemma’s which appear in the practical application of responsible innovation in the public and private sector. Although the focus is on the philosophical and ethical issues raised by responsible innovation, we will also touch upon some more fundamental philosophical issues raised by responsible innovation. This includes issues like:

  • The nature of responsibility in light of the unpredictability of the future impact of innovations
  • The philosophical assumptions of the innovation paradigm
  • The way (responsible) innovations affect experience and praxis
  • Value incommensurability, value pluralism and the trade-offs between values in responsible innovation

Aim / objective

To become acquainted with the main philosophical issues in relation to Responsible Innovation.


Preliminary Program

  • Day 1 (10 January 2024): Introduction to Responsible Research and Innovation (Blok, Swierstra & Boenink)
  • Day 2 (11 January 2024): Value Sensitive Design (vd Hoven & vd Poel)
  • Day 3 (12 January 2024): Conceptions of Responsibility in Relation to RRI I (Zwart) & Philosophy of Innovation (Blok)

Week 2 (Wageningen)

  • Day 4 (15 January 2024): RRI in smart farming and Innovation as Ethos (vd Burg & MacNaghten)
  • Day 5 (16 January 2024): Conceptions of Responsibility in Relation to RRI II (vd Poel/Blok)
  • Day 6 (17 January 2024): Postphenomenological analysis of RRI & Stakeholder participation (Verbeek & Krabbenburg)
  • Day 7 (19 January 2024): Final Presentatioins (Blok & vd Poel)


  • dr. Tsjalling Swierstra, Maastricht University (day 1)
  • dr. Marianne Boenink, Radboud University Medical Center (day 1)
  • Vincent Blok, Wageningen University (day 1, 3, 5 and 7)
  • dr. ir. Ibo van de Poel, Technical University Delft (day 2, 5 and 7)
  • Simone van der Burg, Wageningen University (day 4)
  • dr. Hub Zwart, Erasmus University Rotterdam (day 3)
  • dr. Jeroen van den Hoven, Technical University Delft (day 2)
  • dr. Phil Macnaghten, Wageningen University (day 4)
  • Lotte Krabbenborg, Radboud University Nijmegen (day 6)
  • Peter-Paul Verbeek, Twente University (day 6)


The participants are expected to read all the assigned literature, to do assignments and to actively participate in the discussions. They also have to give a final presentation (more information about the assignment will be provided during the first lecture).

It is obligatory to attend all sessions of the course.

Credit points

Study load is the equivalent of 5 ECTS


The course is free for PhD candidates who are a member of the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology and/or OZSW.

The course is also free for ReMa students who are a member of the OZSW and/or 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology, but they can not register directly. They can send an email to 

Non-members pay a tuition fee of €300.


Registration is not open yet, more information about registration will follow.

More information

For more information contact


January 10, 2024
January 19, 2024
Event Category:


Vincent Blok
Ibo van de Poel
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