Ethics and Law
Conference | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Societas Ethica
Careful reflection on the relation of ethics to law – and vice versa – is essential. Ethics is indispensable for law because the law can only be just insofar as it takes up ethical standards. Likewise, it is for moral reasons that ethics demands that political institutions establish, implement, and apply legal claims that are justified in and through ethical reflection.
It is also important to reflect upon the scope and limits of norms and their intersection with plural hermeneutical interpretations of actions and/or practices. Furthermore, the ethical status of the (political) human rights framework must be clarified. What criteria does ethics offer for legal judgments, and what criteria does philosophy of law offer to moral reasoning? What impact does the theoretical analysis of moral and legal norms have on individual, social, and political actions? What is the role of ‘understanding’ or interpretation in the overall endeavor to ‘judge well’? What is the moral function of the law in postmodern and globally interacting societies? Three contexts are of special interest for the discussion:
At the beginning of the 21st century, national law is complemented to a greater extent than in previous centuries by transnational, international, and global regulations and soft law, as is the case, for example, in transnational trade agreements and their related governance structures and conducts. The trend to a global ethics, global justice, and global structures of governance and institutional regulations reflects the complexity of the relation between ethics and law in a globalized world.
The European Union emerged as a community of commonly held values, now articulated in the European Charta of Fundamental Rights. However, with the arrival of about a million refugees at the borders of Europe in 2015, many moral and ethical questions about the legal frameworks of the EU have been raised. What are the implications of the current threats of human and political rights for the relation of ethics to law?
Ongoing debates concern ethical questions related to the criminal justice systems, civil law, public law, and ethics, and religious legal traditions and ethics. With respect to justice, for example, one may want to analyze the different understandings of justice, e.g. retributive, restorative, or reconciliatory justice, which shape different criminal justice institutions. We will turn to specific legal practices, both in Europe and beyond, addressing questions such as the death penalty, solitary confinement, political asylum, the disciplining effect of measures of surveillance, discrimination of minorities, or the detention of refugees, but also broader legal-ethical issues such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other related topics.
We expect contributions from philosophy, theology, and applied ethics, but also from legal theory and related disciplines.
Through different parallel sessions Societas Ethica will address the major moral questions regarding ethics and law. These sessions will focus on:
- Ethics, justice, and the law (i.e., normative justification of law)
- Moral cultures and the law
- The role of morality in positive Law
- Conflicts between ethics and laws (death penalty, solitary confinement, refugee detention, ‘emergency law’)
- Ethical and legal analysis of reconciliation and reparations
- Human rights
- The Implementation of the Paris Agreement: the challenge of climate change
- Rights of Refugees (UN Refugee Treaty, and the Geneva Convention)
- Asylum law, border control, identification measures, and ethics
- National sovereignty, global governance, and international law
- Religion, theology, and the law (religious freedom, secular and religious law, etc)
- Open channel (for PhD-students)
Paper proposals should contain no more than 800 words (excluding bibliography), and clearly present a moral question or argument addressing one of the aforementioned topics. The deadline is March 31, 2016. Papers can be presented either in English, German, or French.
Please send in the following two documents as Word attachments to Silas Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org, using the subject line “Societas Ethica 2016 Conference.”
Document 1: Your name, first name, email address, institutional address, the title of your abstract, the topic under which your paper proposal falls, and, if eligible, your application to participate in the Young Scholars’ Award competition (see information below).
Document 2: Your paper proposal including bibliography (max. 10 references), keywords and title with all identifying references removed. Please use Times New Roman 12 pt for body, references and keywords, and Ariel (bold) 16 pt for headline.
The abstract of the conference papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers (voluntary) will be published in a special issue of the journal De Ethica. A Journal of Philosophical, Theological and Applied Ethics.
Societas Ethica Young Scholars’ Award is awarded to the best presentation by a young scholar. Young scholars for the purpose of this competition are doctoral students and researchers who earned their degree less than two years ago and do not have a tenure-track academic position. For more information about Societas Ethica Young Scholars’ Award, please visit the website at www.societasethica.info
Societas Ethica – the European Society for Research in Ethics – has more than 270 members from approximately 35 countries. Led by the current president Dr. Hille Haker (Loyola University Chicago), Societas Ethica endeavors to stimulate contacts between scholars in different countries, surpassing political, ideological and religious curtains. We welcome papers from non-members and members. Members, please remember to renew your membership:
Prof. Dr. Hille Haker, President Prof. Dr. Arne Manzeschke, Vice President
Loyola University Chicago Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Evangelische Hochschule Nürnberg