CFP: Special Issue: Ethics and Law

Submission deadline: November 15, 2016

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Special Issue: "Ethics and Law" 

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. A non-exhaustive list of possible topics includes: 

•       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.)

The deadline for the thematic issue is November 15, 2016. All submissions will be subjected to rigorous blind review. Submissions should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words in length. All submissions must be appropriately anonymized and should be accompanied by a separate file containing an abstract of 150 to 200 words and all relevant author information. For more information about layout, style, and the submission and review process, please see the Instructions for Authors:  

De Ethica is committed to a speedy and author-friendly review process; in most cases, the editors will notify the authors of their decision within three months.

De Ethica seeks to publish scholarly works at the intersections of philosophical, theological and applied ethics. It is a fully peer-reviewed, open-access publication hosted by Linköping University Electronic Press. We are committed to making papers of high academic quality accessible to a wide audience.

De Ethica is published in cooperation with Societas Ethica, the European Society for Research in Ethics.  

Please send submissions only to our assistant editor, Heidi Jokinen ([email protected]). General comments and enquiries about the journal should be directed to Marcus Agnafors ([email protected]) or Maren Behrensen ([email protected]).

Editor in Chief

Elena Namli (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Executive Editor

Marcus Agnafors (University of Borås, Sweden)

Associate Editor

Maren Behrensen (Linköping University, Sweden)


Assistant Editor

Heidi Jokinen (Åbo Akademi University, Finland)


Editorial Board

Tina Beattie (University of Roehampton, United Kingdom)

Göran Collste (Linköping University, Sweden)

Marcus Düwell (Universiteit Utrecht, the Netherlands)

Raimond Gaita (University of Melbourne, Australia; and King’s College London, United Kingdom)

Lena Halldenius (Lund University, Sweden)

Hille Haker (Loyola University Chicago, United States)

Robert Heeger (Utrecht University, the Netherlands)

Neil Messer (Winchester University, United Kingdom)

Michael Northcott (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

Philip Pettit (Princeton University, United States)

Pamela Slotte (Helsinki University, Finland)

Hans Ulrich (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)

Peter Vallentyne (University of Missouri, United States)

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