Call for Papers: “Doing Justice Without Doing Harm”

Call for Papers: “Doing Justice Without Doing Harm” July 28, 2015

HT: Rick Garnett at Mirror of Justice This looks really interesting.  What follows is republished from Rick’s post at Mirror of Justice:

Call for Proposals

“Doing Justice without Doing Harm”

Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, California

March 11-12, 2016

We hope you will join us for the conference discussed below.  Mark your calendar, submit a proposal, and forward this message to blogs, list serves, and people who might be interested. Speakers already confirmed include the following:

Barbara E. Armacost, Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law.

Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector and Sol & Anne Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy, American Jewish University

Brian Fikkert, Professor of Economics and Community Development and the founder and President of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College.

Richard W. Garnett, Paul J. Schierl / Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law and Director, Program on Church, State & Society, Notre Dame Law School

Gary Haugen, founder and president of International Justice Mission.

Richard H. Sander, economist and Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University and Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia

Their topics and bios are at the end of this message.

Justice is a central theme in most secular and religious moral traditions, though there are significant disagreements about its content.  As Alasdair McIntyre has asked, “Whose Justice?”  During some periods of history there has been great optimism that the world was moving in a more just direction, generally followed by periods of great injustice and great disillusionment.  (We seem now to be experiencing the latter.)

Our conference themes have ancient roots—“do justice” (Micah 6:8) and “do no harm” (Hippocrates).  The first theme is a call to do justice and to serve a hurting world.  What do our traditions say about justice to the 21st century?  What are the great injustices and causes of suffering in our world?  How might they be addressed by individuals, religious congregations, NGOs, and governments?

A second theme (raised powerfully in Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert’s book “When Helping Hurts”} will be how individuals, groups, and laws might avoid doing harm as we attempt to do good.  Attempts to help can generate dependence or harm bystanders.  The work of governments and NGOs can undercut local institutions like religious congregations and businesses that might address local problems.  Laws can have unintended consequences that do greater harm than good.  We need to make a difference, but to do so wisely.

Please join us for the conversation.  Panels of academics and people from a wide variety of organizations will address theory and practice–what works and what does not work.

Questions to be addressed might include:

–           What do our secular and religious traditions teach about justice and its place in the 21st century?

–           What is the relationship between justice and love?

–           How can the law best be used to promote the ideals of justice.

–           What is social justice and what is its relationship with other forms of justice?

–           What are the greatest injustices in our world and what can we do about them?

–           What are the greatest injustices in our neighborhoods and what can we do about them?

–           What are examples of attempts to help the poor which have harmed them?

–           How can attempts to do justice lead to injustice?

–           How might we help those in the greatest need without harming them?

If you would like to present a paper or organize a panel that fits within this broad range of themes, please submit your proposal by September 15, 2015 via email Proposals should be two pages maximum and should include a short abstract and a bio.

If you have questions about the substance of the conference, contact Bob Cochran ( or Michael Helfand (  For questions about the details of the conference, contact Jenna Anderson ( or (310) 506-6978.

For information on the conference as it becomes available and to view details of past conferences, see:

The conference will be co-sponsored by Pepperdine’s Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics and its Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies.

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