EPLab's Research Program

In the context of the strategic project of IFILNOVA, EPLAB has defined as its principal aim the demonstration that devaluation of classical values (individual and subjective rights, equality, liberty, etc.) in nowadays societies is a more apparent than a real process and that, specifically, fundamental rights and the reflection on them will occupy the center of stage.  In fact we believe that the most significant research in the next decade will put the role of these rights as a priority for the inquiry of philosophy and the social sciences. So it is our conviction that in the near and medium run the discussion on values will play a decisive role. The central role of fundamental rights, in particular, is not to be dismissed; on the contrary. Our claim is that despite the plurality of cultures, political forms and legal orders, the work on fundamental rights will be a transversal and essential item for the philosophical inquiry.

We are speaking of values that will not have only a kind of formal constitutional expression, but that fulfill a central transformation in the global form of life of more and more societies around the planet. How this process develops, how we can identify the local and global changes in the perception of values in order to achieve a better common life between prima facie radically distant forms of life will be central theme of the EPLAB’s research. We are persuaded that such a research has also a dramatic impact on the reflection on the differences but also articulations between the moral, political and legal languages. Important contemporary moral and law philosophers (e.g. H.L.A. Hart, Ronald Dworkin, Neil MacCormick) have renewed discussions about legal positivism and natural law theories and finally what is at stake is once more the status of values.

These are presuppositions of EPLAB that make its research program a true interface with the other two Labs of IFILNOVA, specially if one considers that we are speaking of topics that must be treated in some argumentative form (ArgLab) and interact nicely with the research in aesthetic values (AELab).


Faculdade de Direito Universidade Nova de Lisboa