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The commission of widespread atrocities is a prominent feature of contemporary conflicts and repressive regimes. Consider conflicts in Ethiopia, Gaza, Ukraine, or Syria.

Yet efforts to end war or ongoing repression characteristically confront the peace versus justice dilemma: the pursuit of trials and punishment for perpetrators of atrocities puts peace or possibilities for regime change at risk. Various solutions to this dilemma have been pursued in both theory and practice. In theory, frameworks for balancing between the two values have been developed and alternative notions of justice that do not demand punishment embraced. In practice, alternative methods of accountability have been adopted: lustration and truth commissions among them. This talk shifts the focus to peace and articulates a conception of what speaker Professor Colleen Murphy calls complex peace. Conflict and repression flatten the moral universe into stark binaries: perpetrators and victims, oppressors and oppressed, enemies and friends. Peace depends on the possibility of moving beyond such binaries.

A reception will follow at the River Café in the Macadam Building (ground floor), as well as the announcement of the winners of the Estella Newsome Memorial Prize essay competition (sponsored by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).

All are welcome!

The Peace Lectures are due to Alan Lacey, a life-long pacifist who taught philosophy at King’s College London for some fifteen years, and who left a generous bequest to fund a lecture series promoting peace. The series is organised by the King's Philosophy Department.

Speaker: Colleen Murphy

The lecture is given by Colleen Murphy, the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy & PoliticalScience, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she also serves as Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program in the Illinois Global Institute. Read more about Colleen here.

Profile picture for Colleen Murphy

The lecture will be chaired by Massimo Renzo, Professor of Politics, Philosophy & Law at King's.

At this event

Massimo Renzo

Professor of Politics, Philosophy & Law

Event details

Safra Lecture Theatre
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS