Legitimate Decision-making in Times of Crisis

February 5, 2021
Program in Philosophy, Law, and Ethics, University of Baltimore

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore 21201
United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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University of Baltimore
University of Baltimore

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Legitimate Decision-making in Times of Crisis

Papers from the conference proceedings are expected to be published in the Ius Gentium Series for Springer Press. 

Proposals due: November 1, 2020

Zoom Conference: February 5, 2021

Covid-19 highlights the general topic of political legitimacy and specifically the nature and practice of legitimate decision-making in times of crisis. Crises create novel circumstances that may preclude the use of normal democratic structures, where the structures themselves do not settle who or how decision-making should proceed. Or democratic procedures may include escape clauses for truncated decision-making procedures in ways that are unclear and ill-defined, and may raise questions of legitimacy themselves. Some specific domains, such as triage in times of war, have a long history of addressing crises; but Covid-19 highlights the broader topic of legitimacy when political units as a whole, such as nation-states, experience significant procedural stress or breakdown in the face of crises. The relative balance of global, national, regional, and local decision-making can quickly become scrambled. 

This virtual conference invites philosophers and social scientists to address a feature of legitimate decision-making in times of crises. How do and should crises alter the notion of legitimate decision-making, if at all? Another set of questions revolve around who should make decisions and over what matters. A third set of questions revolve around the best form of legitimate or ethical decision-making, given who should decide. For example, is cost-benefit analysis the best method for decision-makers for closing or re-opening schools and Universities, or businesses? Papers may address these or other related questions theoretically (as topics in political legitimacy and applied ethics) or as case studies with answers in practice (in law and social science). 

Submit proposals to: Professor Josh Kassner, jkassner@ubalt.edu

Invited participants include: 

Professor Fabienne Peter (University of Warwick) and author of Democratic Legitimacy (2009)

Sponsored by the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics

Co-sponsored by:           Program in Philosophy, Law, and Ethics

                                    Center for International and Comparative Law

                                    School of Public and International Affairs

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