Love and Justice: Consonance or Dissonance?

2016 Conference Program

Love and justice have received a great deal of attention within philosophy, theology, psychology, neuroscience and sociology in recent years; but many views are controversial, and important questions remain unanswered. What do we mean by ‘love’ and ‘justice’ in everyday life, and how is this conceptualized in different disciplines? What are the problems that make people turn to speaking of love? And what are the questions answered by talking of justice? Views differ widely, both within traditions and across cultures. Are familiar distinctions between eros, philia and agape enough to understand love? And is everything important said about justice by distinguishing between distributive and retributive, interactional and redistributive, restorative and transformative justice? Is it true that love and compassion enable more fulfilling and meaningful kinds of human relations than do liberal notions of justice and rights? Do love and justice necessarily conflict or can they be harmonious? What kinds of love and justice do we need to distinguish in order to avoid confusions? Is it true that love has a role to play in personal relationships but must be replaced by justice when it comes to social and political issues? Is justice the public form of love and love the private form of justice? Can there be universal love without a concern for the ultimate welfare of all humanity, including a just and good life for everybody? Can a life that lacks in love be a just life? What is the relationship between self-love, love of neighbor and love of God? If God is love, can God be just? And if God is just how can God be love? Can there be love without justice, or justice without love? Can there be true love without a passion to do what is right, to fight evil, to punish wrongdoing, and to enforce justice? And can there be true justice that is not mediated and appropriated through love? Would there be injustice, if love were properly shared? And can there be justice if it is divorced from love? What are the means of realizing love and justice in human life? Does fighting for justice involve striving for love? And does striving for love include fighting for justice? Can love be enforced as justice can? Or is spreading love, respect and compassion enough for realizing justice? Is the struggle for justice a way of working for a life of love? Or does our need for love show that struggling for justice is not enough to enable us to live a good human life?

The 37th Philosophy of Religion Conference at Claremont, California, on Feb. 19-20, 2016 will address these and related questions. Speakers will include: Richard Amesbury (Zürich), Deidre Green (Claremont), W. David Hall (Centre College), Ulrich Körtner (Vienna), Thaddeus Metz (Johannesburg), Anselm Min (Claremont), Stephen J. Pope (Boston College), Regina Schwartz (Northwestern), Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale).