Prof.dr. S. (Sabine) Roeser

Prof.dr. S. (Sabine) Roeser


Sabine Roeser is professor of ethics. She has worked at TU Delft since 2001, at the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology Section, which is one of the Sections of the Department of Values, Technology and Innovation at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. The philosophers of TU Delft play leading roles in research, teaching and internal and external policy advise on ethical development of technology.
Sabine Roeser grew up in Germany where she finished her high school degree, ‘Abitur’, in 1990 with majors in mathematics and English and a profile with STEM, humanities and social science courses. After that she moved to the Netherlands, where she obtained degrees in painting (BA, Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, 1994), philosophy (MA, University of Amsterdam, cum laude 1997; specializations in formal logic and philosophical anthropology) and political science (MA, University of Amsterdam 1998; specializations in international relations and logical formalizations of social scientific theories). She did her PhD in metaethics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (1998-2002, supervisor René van Woudenberg). During her PhD research she spent two semesters abroad: at the philosophy departments of the University of Notre Dame, USA (Spring term 1999) and at the University of Reading, UK (Fall term 2000, under supervision of Jonathan Dancy).
Roeser’s research focuses on risk, emotion, intuitions and art. Roeser has developed a metaethical theory, ‘affectual intuitionism’ which is a combination of ethical intuitionism with a cognitive theory of emotions. Moral emotions such as empathy and care can draw our attention to morally salient aspects of particular situations. In her work on risk ethics, Roeser argues that the concept of risk has to be redefined to explicitly include ethical aspects such as autonomy, fairness, solidarity, responsibility, and care. She has developed a theoretical framework according to which we need to reconceptualize emotions, not as states that are contrary to rationality as they are often seen, but as a form of moral cognition and perception that can alert us to ethical aspects of risk. She argues that decision making about risky technologies should be informed by what she calls ‘emotional deliberation’. In more recent work she has developed the idea that works of art that engage with technologies can contribute to emotional moral deliberation on risky technologies. This requires reconceptualizing art from ‘l’art pur l’art’ as ‘art as a scaffolding for emotional deliberation’ by experientially engaging our imaginative capacities.
Roeser has published theoretical work in metaethics and risk ethics, but also on specific technological risks, such as nuclear energy, climate change, transport ethics, and public health. Roeser has (co-)edited eight books with leading international publishers, including Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press. She has published two monographs: Moral Emotions and Intuitions (2011, Palgrave Macmillan) and Risk, Technology and Moral Emotions(2018, Routledge). Roeser has given more than 200 academic talks, most of which invited. Roeser has acquired competitive funding and successfully lead various research projects funded by e.g. NWO and the EU, including the supervision of numerous PhD-candidates and postdocs. Roeser is one of six PIs and vice-chair of an NWO Gravitation project on ‘Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies’, ESDiT. She co-leads the society line and the art track of this project. For an overview of her publications see her Google Scholar profile.
Roeser has taught numerous ethics courses for various engineering programs at TU Delft, on the BSc, MSc and PhD level. She frequently contributes to courses for PhD students in philosophy. When she was head of the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology Section of TU Delft (2015-2020), on request of the board of TU Delft she led the development of a new comprehensive strategy to ensure that all students of TU Delft on all levels of education get training in ethics. She commissioned a website that presents the unique teaching approach of the Section. 
Roeser frequently contributes to public debates. She has given >100 interviews for popular media and she is a member of various (inter)national policy advisory committees, related to e.g. nuclear energy, genetic modification, climate policies and public health.
Since 2021 Roeser chairs the Department of Values, Technology and Innovation (VTI). The department consists of three Sections and comprises more than 150 academic employees, support staff and guest researchers. She previously was head of the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology Section (2015-2020). Under her leadership the Section and Department have grown significantly. Roeser is former integrity officer of TU Delft (2018-2021). She has led a committee that developed a new comprehensive integrity policy for TU Delft, and she was chair of a working group that developed the current Code of Conduct of TU Delft. Roeser is vice-chair of the Council of Professors of TU Delft. In her leadership roles, Roeser strives to facilitate a climate of inspiring and ambitious research and teaching, collegial collaboration, and a healthy life-work balance.

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