London Lectures

Treating legal transgressions as a response to state injustice

Joseph Chan and Brian Wong argue for a state duty to recognise the unique nature of law breakers who are resisting and protesting structural and regime-based injustices.

Part of the London Lectures series, A Philosophers’ Manifesto.

Traditional accounts of civil disobedience and the ethics of contentious politics predominantly focus on individuals and their obligations and rights in relation to lawbreaking.

We instead seek to articulate a cogent framework by which the state ought to respond to crimes of such nature.

Examining the empirical issues that arise concerning rehabilitative justice and the post-imprisonment welfare of ex-convicts, we will make the case for a state duty to recognise and take seriously the unique nature of citizens who violate the law with the intentions of resisting and protesting structural and regime-based injustices, e.g. the Black Lives Matter protests in the US.

  • Speaker

    Joseph Chan is a Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong and Global Scholar and Visiting Professor in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His recent book is Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times (Princeton, 2014).

    Brian Wong is a Rhodes Scholar (Hong Kong, '20) and DPhil in Politics (Theory) candidate at Balliol College, University of Oxford.

    Their research interests primarily constitute rectifying historical and tackling structural injustices under non-ideal circumstances. They co-founded the Oxford Political Review.