Association for Legal and Social Philosophy Annual Conference title graphic

Ethics for the 21st century
Edinburgh, 2-4 July 2009

The last two decades have seen profound social and economic changes in all areas of our lives. To name but a few: borders have become both more open and more closed. We have witnessed unprecedented levels of technological development: from new medical technologies such as genetic engineering and cloning, to communication technologies such as the internet and new modes of warfare. Environmental degradation and climate change are now a daily reality.

On the one hand, we have gained considerable freedoms and opportunities (to shape our children, to access information, to use the internet as a tool for democratic governance, to travel, to exchange information, etc.). On the other hand, we are increasingly vulnerable to breaches of privacy and autonomy (such as identify theft), to denials of our freedoms (through, e.g., anti-terrorist legislation), to growing inequalities and distrust within heterogeneous societies, and to extreme forms of violence.

The conference aims to examine the ethical implications of those changes. Can familiar, well known theories of rights, freedom and justice easily accommodate those changes? Ought we to embrace the latter?

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