About us

The Institute for Contemporary Ethics (ICE) aims to address the complex challenges affecting our present-day societies, lives and environments through philosophical research, educational programmes and community collaboration.

Our research focuses on the overlapping problematics and tensions created by the entanglement of technologies, socio-political environments and ecologies stemming from the ever-accelerating and interlocking disruptions provoked by the speed of technological innovation, the cascading collapse of ecosystems, and the concomitant balkanisation of societies across the globe—both physically and politically. These unprecedented perturbations and their combined effects have had delimiting and destabilizing consequences for notions and practices of the good life—an ethico-philosophical question resonating with Socrates’s enduring adage that the unexamined life is not worth living.

For us, this necessitates a fundamental re-thinking and re-imagining of ethics, broadly construed as the art of living—both on individual and collective levels, as well as in relation to non-human life forms. The activities of ICE are thus grounded in ethico-philosophical inquiries into the limitations of established conceptual and axiological models, as well as an exploration of the potential contribution of alternative models, including more marginalised and emergent methodologies and frameworks which includes, but is not limited to speculative philosophies, posthumanism, the new materialisms, critical phenomenology, ecofeminism, anti-colonial methodologies and frameworks, indigenous knowledges, and the ethics of care.

The Institute’s inquiries and activities are distributed across three overlapping research programmes, namely:

  • Information, technology and worlding practices
  • Emerging, extractive and affective ecologies
  • Socio-political environments of struggle, resistance and art

The Institute for Contemporary Ethics reports on its proceedings to the School of Philosophy and the Focus Area Social Transformation, which report to the Humanities Research, Innovation and Ethics Committee (RIEC) as a standing committee of the Faculty of Humanities.