Murphy, Colleen (1); Scanlon, Helen (2); Hull, George (3); Koggel, Christine (4) (2017). 'The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice, Cambridge University Press (May 2017)' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.


This session (the second of two) critically examines Colleen Murphy's book on the foundations of Transitional Justice. A summary of the book can be found below:

Many countries have attempted to transition to democracy following conflict or repression, but the basic meaning of transitional justice remains hotly contested. In this book, Colleen Murphy analyzes transitional justice – showing how it is distinguished from retributive, corrective, and distributive justice – and outlines the ethical standards that societies attempting to democratize should follow. She argues that transitional justice involves the just pursuit of societal transformation. Such transformation requires political reconciliation, which in turn has a complex set of institutional and interpersonal requirements, including the rule of law. She shows how societal transformation is also influenced by the moral claims of victims and the demands of perpetrators, and how justice processes can fail to be just by failing to foster this transformation or by not treating victims and perpetrators fairly. Her book will be accessible and enlightening for philosophers, political and social scientists, policy analysts, and legal and human rights scholars and activists.

The session include 3 commentaries by leading experts, followed by some remarks by the author at the end.

About the author: Colleen Murphy is Professor of Law, Philosophy, and Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and the coeditor of Engineering Ethics for a Globalized World (2015), Risk Analysis of Natural Hazards (2015), and Climate Change and Its Impacts: Risks and Inequalities (forthcoming).

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