Peace vs Justice Revisited
Colleen Murphy (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

March 27, 2024, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Department of Philosophy, King's College London

Safra Lecture Theatre
London WC2R2LS
United Kingdom


King's College London

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Abstract: The commission of widespread atrocities is a prominent feature of contemporary conflicts and repressive regimes. Consider Ethiopia, Gaza, Ukraine, and the al-Assad regime in Syria. If any wrongdoing merits retributive justice, atrocities that constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity do. Yet efforts to end war or ongoing repression characteristically confront the peace versus justice dilemma: the pursuit of trials and punishment for perpetrators of atrocities puts peace or possibilities for regime change at risk. Various solutions to this dilemma have been pursued in both theory and practice. In theory, frameworks for balancing between the two values have been developed and alternative notions of justice that do not demand punishment embraced. In practice, alternative methods of accountability have been adopted: lustration and truth commissions among them. This talk shifts the focus to peace and articulates a conception of what I call complex peace. Conflict and repression flatten the moral universe into stark binaries: perpetrators and victims, oppressors and oppressed, enemies and friends. Peace depends on the possibility of moving beyond such binaries.

A reception will follow at the River Café in the Macadam Building (ground floor), as well as the announcement of the winners of the Estella Newsome Memorial Prize essay competition (sponsored by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).

All are welcome!

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March 25, 2024, 9:00am BST

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