Social ethics involves the scientific reflection of the ethical dimension of social contexts, challenges and questions. The focus is on institutions, structures and systems.

As part of theological ethics, social ethics works with scientific methods and standards in front of a Christian faith founded meaning-horizon. Like every concrete ethical judgment and action, it requires an encompassing horizon of meaning, which it makes transparent. Connected with this, social ethics also considers the ability to connect to the philosophical-ethical discourse.

The profile of the Institute for Social Ethics ISE characterizes the research and teaching of the staff on the main research areas, the Lucerne Graduate School in Ethics LGSE and the Lucerne Summer University: Ethics in a Global Context LSUE under the patronage of UNESCO.