The ERI, affiliated to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Zurich, is dedicated to research, academic teaching and services to the public in the area of philosophical ethics. The Chairs for Normative Ethics (Prof. Halbig) and for Applied Ethics (Prof. Schaber) and since 2008 the Chair for Political Philosophy (Prof. Cheneval) belong to the ERI.
Work at the ERI includes:
- guaranteed academic teaching in philosophical ethics at the University of Zurich
- research projects (in part financed by Swiss National Funding)
- the organization of conferences and workshops
- official analyses, experts' reports and other services to the public (e.g. talks, the processing of enquiries, etc.)
- the compilation of a research library and of documented public debate on ethical issues (articles collected from newspapers and magazines).
The ERI was founded in 1989, essentially as the result of a decision taken in 1987 by the Arnold Corti-Stamm Foundation (Winterthur) to donate its means to the promotion of ethical research. Together with the Institute for Social Ethics, affiliated to the Faculty of Theology and the the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, Facutly of Medicine , the ERI comprises part of the Zurich University Centre for Ethics (ZUCE) housed in "Villa Abegg", which was generously renovated for this purpose by the Canton of Zurich in 1995. The building was erected in the Neorenaissance style by architect Conrad von Muralt at the turn of the last century and then left to the Canton by Carl J Abegg, PhD h.c. in 1962, on the condition that it be used exclusively for scientific studies and university research.