Call for Papers:
Vera Lex: Journal of Natural Law
Special issue on Natural Law and Asian Philosophy:
Vera Lex is currently looking for papers that deal with both natural law theory and any aspect of Asian thought. The various versions of natural law theory that emerged in the West postulate, in different ways, a law "higher" than those limited by the contingencies of human invention. Natural laws have been claimed to be universally valid, hence "natural" as fundamental principles with theological or rational grounding. There is implied here a connection between prescriptive rules and descriptive principles, between the normative and the explanatory, between the ethical and the metaphysical (cosmological or ontological) or epistemological, between the "ought" of human behavior and the "is" in the order of reality or of rationality.
Are there comparable (and contrastable) notions outside of the Western tradition? For example, the Indian concept of dharma in both the Hindu and Buddhist contexts has social and cosmic, normative and explanatory senses, especially in connection with the notion of karma. And in the Chinese traditions, the notions of li (ritual, propriety, custom, etc.), li (patterning, principle), and tao (way), together with the related ideas of jen (humanity), t’ien (heaven), or t’ai-chi (great ultimate), often have both normative and descriptive connotations, entailing both human and cosmic dimensions. How different or similar are they from Western natural law theories? Can the norms they provide for human behavior likewise be said to be "natural" (in the sense of natural law theory)? We also invite papers on relevant ideas in Islamic philosophy, (e.g., the shari’a or the metaphysical or theological, i.e., "natural" (?), underpinnings of jurisprudence (al-fiqh)).
The journal welcomes papers dealing with this issue, and related topics, but taken in a loosely construed sense. The purpose is to open the door to fruitful philosophical engagement across cultural and traditional boundaries.
Scheduled publication, December 2006.
Paper submissions due June 30, 2006.
Papers should not exceed 8000 words.
C/o John W.M. Krummel
Dept. of Religion
6th floor, Anderson Hall
1114 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090
C/o Robert Chapman
Dept. of Philosophy & Religious Studies
41 Park Row
NYC, NY 10038
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