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Ideology, Decision-making and Uncertainty

Risk, uncertaintities and ideologies, belief and commitment

Although sometimes overlooked or marginalised in scientific research, ideologies and beliefs often feature prominently in personal and group accounts of decision-making either as causal drivers or as explanations for the actions that follow, such as the role played by Islamist beliefs in radicalisation and terrorism, and the culture war fought out in US courts on evolution v creationism. Even in cases where actions appear to be motivated by expediency, power or financial and territorial gain, they may underpin material interests, be offered as justifications or contribute to a broad canvas of different influences.

This Global Uncertainties Fellowship investigates how ideologies, beliefs and commitments are employed in decision-making and subsequent public actions, both violent and non-violent, in the face of risk and uncertainty.

The fellowship is funded by the RCUK Global Uncertainties programme.

Further information : Project website


The Donation and Transfer of Human Reproductive Materials

""The Donation and Transfer of Human Reproductive Materials is a five-year programme of research led jointly by Rosamund Scott (Professor of Medical Law and Ethics at King’s College, London) and Stephen Wilkinson (Professor of Bioethics at Lancaster University). It is funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in Ethics and Society and runs from January 2013 until December 2017. The research will consider the ethical framework for the donation and transfer of human reproductive materials (such as eggs and sperm), coupled with the implications of this framework for clinical practice, law, policy, and regulation. The grant will support a number of post-doctoral researchers, at King’s and at Lancaster, as well research time for the award-holders, and a series of conferences and workshops.




""The I Family Study is investigating the determinants of food and lifestyle choices in European children, adolescents and their parents and the impact on lifelong health.

How does family life, built environment, levels of physical activity, plus social, behavioural, psychological and genetic factors impact on the food and lifestyle choices of children as they enter adolescence? By studying thousands of families in eight European countries, this multi-disciplinary project will help unravel these factors and identify effective interventions, enabling more families to make healthier choices.

Lancaster University's contribution to the project focuses on the normative aspects of the study - both in its ethical aspects and its policy implications. We will focus especially on the implications of study findings for commercial and policy actors at European, national and local levels.

Visit project website


Self: Hindu Responses to Buddhist Critiques

""This project was dedicated to the study of the sophisticated interaction between Hindu and Buddhist thinkers about the different concepts and indeed the very existence of the self.  This collaborative research project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom and was based at Lancaster University and the University of Sussex. 2009-2011

Visit project website

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Department Activities

Future of Consent

""The Future of Consent was an AHRC funded workshop programme that ran from 2009-10. It examined various challenges to the ideal of individual autonomy represented by the requirement of securing informed consent. It consisted of two workshops – one in China and one in the United Kingdom - which brought together philosophers, lawyers, and psychologists from China, North America, Australia, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom to explore these issues.

See website for further details


ESRC Seminar Series - Changing Cultures of Competitiveness

""The series' main aim was to provide a context for presenting and promoting interdisciplinary ana-lyses of 'competitiveness' as a body of knowledge and related policy.

See Seminar Series website for further details.

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Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion County South, Lancaster University, LA1 4YL, UK
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