Legal Philosophy between State and Transnationalism

The social and political organization of our world is changing at a fast pace. Societies are becoming ever more diverse and popular allegiances are multiplying. States are witnessing the erosion of their sovereignty, while having to contend with increasingly complex transnational crime and threats to national and international security. Modern normative commitments to human rights and the rule of law that have formed since the Enlightenment and through the political revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries are now being challenged from countless new directions. Such deep transformations generate a host of novel and significant philosophical questions for scholars to answer.

The annual seminar series ‘Legal Philosophy Between State and Transnationalism’ is designed to address emerging issues at the intersection of transnationalism, law, and philosophy in a sustained and systematic manner. It centres around five key issues:

(1) The impact of social diversity and transnationalism on social organization, justice, and law;
(2) The uncertainty of the rule of law, customary and moral norms in contexts of war and other public emergencies, domestic and international;
(3) The erosion of state sovereignty and its impact on the general theory of state and law;
(4) The possible forms of transnational wrongdoing and liability (moral, political, and legal);
(5) The value and nature of human rights in national and transnational settings.

In its first five years, the series offered 32 high-end debates that brought together leading international theorists and philosophers engaged in cutting-edge research on the correlation between the state, law, morality, politics, and other kinds of societal ordering. Video recordings of seminars are available for each of the 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 editions. The 2013-2014 schedule is available here.

The series is jointly organized by Osgoode Hall Law School and the Department of Philosophy, under the umbrella of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security. It reflects York University’s broad and growing international strength in legal, moral, and political philosophy, socio-legal theory, and transnational studies. It will be of interest to anyone – from lawyers to philosophers, sociologists to political scientists – working in these areas.

In 2013-2014, the series will for the first time be integrated in a course – the Legal Philosophy between State and Transnationalism Workshop – cross-listed in Osgoode’s JD and graduate programs, as well as in the graduate program of the department of philosophy. It remains open to the public, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please consult the link in the left column for details about dates, room changes, topics, pre-circulated papers, and speakers. For any further inquiries about the series, contact the co-convenors, Prof. François Tanguay-Renaud and Prof. Michael Giudice.