Correspondence: Professor Dr. phil. Hans-Martin Sass, Director, Zentrum für Medizinische Ethik, Ruhr-Universität, D-44780 Bochum; Senior Research Scholar, Kennedy Instititue of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are quite a number of rocky roads on which the ‘old continent’ has embarked. There is, first, a harmonization of cultures and attitudes in the creation of a common European market of values and valuables, a harmonization undertaken in order to survive in an increasingly competitive global market. Second, there is a reactivation of specific European traditions in discourse, peaceable hermeneutics, solidarity, subsidiarity, tolerance in both conflict reduction and solution, and respect for self-determination and self-responsibility. Third, there is an integration of theory and practice, of visions and reality, of national identity or pride and common European rights, and of obligations and cultural heritages. Last but not least, there is a question about the definition of ‘European’ in a world which, at least in part, has been developed by successful European missionary work in the distribution of Age-of-Reason principles such as personal autonomy and social and ideational tolerance, the promotion of science-based technologies, and the creation of global markets for goods and services.