Events

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4 (visiting address: Yliopistonkatu 3)
FI-00014 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140

intlaw-institute(at)helsinki.fi







 

Tradition and Critique: Moral Education in the Study of International Law

ECI Brown Bag Seminar by Tuomas Tiittala
Time: Wednesday 19 March 2014 at 12.15-14.00
Venue: Room P669 (Yliopistonkatu 3, Porthania 6th floor)

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Tradition and Critique: Moral Education in the Study of International Law

What is international legal ethics? How to prepare students to tackle moral challenges of international legal practice, especially in global governance? These questions lie at the core of Tuomas’s ongoing doctoral dissertation which contributes to the project "Towards a Credible Ethics for Global Governance".

Central problems in legal ethics and moral education in law include ‘How do I justify my actions as a lawyer?’, ‘What kind of lawyer do I want to become?’ and ‘How to educate moral practitioners?’ Moral outlooks – utilitarian, deontological, virtue and postmodern ethics – give law teachers, students and lawyers different kinds of guidance in answering these questions.  While these issues are complicated already in the domestic realm, international law and global governance in particular, bring additional challenges.

This research advocates an Aristotelian virtue approach to moral education in the study of international law: it considers the positive character traits (virtues) of an international lawyer, or a global governor, and the ways in which these virtues could be acquired in the study of international law today.  Postmodern ethics, whose various strands reject the idea of objective truth in morality and tradition as a source of moral guidance, seems to resist applying virtue ethics to legal practice and education. Is virtue ethics possible given the postmodern challenge? Intriguingly, while the supporters of these outlooks disagree on important epistemological, moral, educational, legal and political questions, they seem to come together to criticize modern moral theories for their reductionism and to emphasize (the virtue of) practical wisdom.

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Tuomas Tiittala is currently working as a Doctoral Candidate in Academy Professor (Martti Ahtisaari Chair) Jan Klabbers's research project "Towards a Credible Ethics for Global Governance" at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights.

The event is open to everyone. Coffee & sandwiches will be provided, so please register no later than on Monday 17 March at https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/46984/lomake.html