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Authors: Peppoloni, Silvia 
Title: Che significa “Geoetica”? Dentro le parole, il senso dell’attività del geologo
Issue Date: Sep-2009
Keywords: Geoethics
Subject Classification05. General::05.03. Educational, History of Science, Public Issues::05.03.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: Geoethics is born with the intent to highlight the social role of Geosciences, to encourage a critical analysis on the use of natural resources, to promote the enhancement and protection of the Geosphere, the correct information on risks, hoping the involvement of the scientific community in the idea of a common and shared “geological” heritage. But what is the deep meaning of the word “geoethics”, its origins, its use? The word derives from the combination of “geology” and “ethics”. “Geology” is simply “the study of Earth”. The etymological analysis of the word “ethics” is more complicated: it seems that at its origin there is a root of dual meaning: on the one hand it contains the sense of belonging to a community, it defines the relationship between men; on the other hand it expresses the individual, the ego in relationship to itself. It follows that ethics concerns what is common, but also what is personal, what distinguishes the individual. Ethics is both “being part” and “belonging to oneself”. In addition, a Semitic base assigns to this word the original meaning of “experience”. Thus, ethics is defined as the research of criteria that enable the individual to properly manage their freedom with respect for others, in the attempt to find the meaning of human life, understood as individual life and in relation with the Planet Earth. It is subjective when it deals with the subject acting, objective, when the action is related to common values and institutions. Consequently, we can define geoethics on the one hand as the investigation and reflection on the behaviour of men towards the Geosphere, on the other hand as the analysis of the relationship between the geologist who acts and his own action, with clear implications of responsibility both in scientific research and in professional practice. Starting from the etymology of some words related to the world of Geosciences, it will be tried to grasp the meaning of the geologist’s activity.
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