The classical separation (and opposition) between the natural and human sciences is based on the difference between the explanation and the understanding of the world.
The former would be concerned with providing an explanation of reality (understood as a set of causal concatenations devoid of intentional meaning) in terms of certainty and exactness, the latter would be concerned with understanding, through historical-hermeneutic and reflexive interpretations, the reality formed by human interactions.
This distinction and opposition has long appeared to researchers to be extremely problematic (to give just one example, to understand how the now well-known phenomenon of 'spillover' occurs, the shifting of a pathogen from one species to another, it is impossible not to consider socio-economic, demographic and historical aspects, as well as purely biological and naturalistic ones), and an interdisciplinary approach to research questions is increasingly valued as the only perspective capable of providing a broad knowledge that can be articulated around the complexity of reality.
The MES-CoBraD project consortium actively pursues a highly interdisciplinary research horizon and methodology, based on the exchange and active integration of the various scientific components of the project. In the context of the research and analysis activities carried out during the months of the project, the interdisciplinary approach mainly served the function of bringing different research areas together, thus enabling a holistic view of all the research areas involved.
It is in this spirit that some of the latest research and project activities have been undertaken.
In particular, two deliverables (D 2.5 and D 2.6) were recently released, aimed at examining and assessing from an ethical and legal point of view the developments of the MES-CoBraD research articulation.
On the one hand, therefore, the articulation of research, such as compliance with bioethical and data management and data protection requirements and regulations, was examined and analysed in depth from both a clinical and a technical point of view; on the other hand, a number of ethical aspects relevant to research and in particular to medical research were examined in depth.
In particular, the consortium's Ethical and legal Help-Desk has been expanded and enriched with a new section of FAQs on ethics and bioethics.
The Help-Desk is an active tool of the consortium consists of a part that serves as a repository of FAQs on various legal, ethical and bioethical topics, and another part serving as a ticketing service, where each partner can submit a question which will be redirected to the most competent partner of the consortium on the topic.
Some of the questions directly addressed by the new FAQs section and dealt with more extensively in both D 2.5 and D 2.6 concern issues concerning the relationship between the technical and medical setting and the ethical and philosophical sphere. What is the relationship between ethics and care? What are the most critical and relevant aspects concerning the adoption of algorithmic systems and AI in healthcare? Why is it important to analyse the role of sex and gender in medical research? How could the use of AI-based decision support mechanisms change the relationship between doctor and patient?
Analysing these questions from an interdisciplinary point of view allows for a greater depth of analysis on both theoretical and operational issues and enables the development of a not unilateral analytical capacity.