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Ethical Choices Relating to War and Crisis
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 6:00–7:30 P.M.
LIMITED ENROLLMENT. THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE, 2450 RIVER OAKS BLVD. HOUSTON, 77019
In our daily lives, we are presented with choices about how to behave in situations where no law compels us to act. And yet, in these moments we often feel we must act. In taking actions, we do so without full information or any guarantee of success. The German theologian and philosopher Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted, “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Why do we feel compelled to act in these situations, and what drives us? The French philosopher and judge Baron Montesquieu argued that moeurs (the customs, manners, and morals of a country) are often more fundamental than laws and that laws should reflect and complement a country’s moeurs. This course will discuss the choices individuals must make in relation to two topics that have affected everyone in recent years—the “Ethics of War and the “Ethics of Crisis.” It will examine two articles by Justice Gordon Goodman: “The Ethics of War and the Law of the Sea” (Volume 80, Issue 1, 2020, Heidelberg Journal of International Law), and “The Ethics of Crisis” (Issue 28, 2021, Harvard Public Health Review), whose unifying theme is the personal responsibility of every individual to behave ethically.
The two articles can be found here, and will be emailed to subscribers before the course:
Gordon Goodman was elected to the First Court of Appeals in 2018 and is a member of the Texas State Bar, Pennsylvania Bar, and Energy Bar Associations. Before serving on the bench, he held senior positions for the E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.; Conoco, Inc.; and Occidental Petroleum Corporation. He earned his B.A. degree magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has served on the board of directors for the Houston Area Urban League and on advisory boards for the Blaffer Gallery (as chairman), the University of Houston’s College of Arts & Sciences (as chairman), and the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University.