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Globalism and Natural Law

A Flourishing Society Lecture by Professor Kevin M. Doak (Georgetown University)

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Globalism and Natural Law
Globalism and Natural Law

Time & Location

Mar 03, 2020, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM PST

Stanford Faculty Lounge, 439 Lagunita Dr, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

About the Event

A common objection to the existence of natural law concerns the diversity of moral life and thought across societies. Given that the natural law tradition flowered in the West, this raises the question of whether the concept of natural law is merely an expression of Western cultural beliefs or philosophical principles. Drawing on his recent book, Tanaka Kōtarō and World Law: Rethinking the Natural Law Outside the West, Professor Kevin M. Doak (Georgetown University) explored this question through the jurisprudence of Tanaka Kōtarō (1890-1974). One of the 20th-century’s most distinguished jurists, Tanaka served as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Japan, and as a judge on the International Court of Justice at The Hague. In his monumental A Theory of World Law (1932-1934), he outlined a globalist natural law theory called World Law. Professor Doak showed how Tanaka’s jurisprudence opens new ways of thinking about the natural law, particularly in relation to civil law and world society. He also answered questions from attendees regarding the relation of Tanaka’s insights to legal realism, philosophical anthropology, and the geopolitical.

About the Speaker

Kevin M. Doak is Nippon Foundation Endowed Chair, Professor of Japanese Studies, and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Georgetown University. The winner of the first Terada Mari Japan Study Award, he specializes in the study of nationalism and democratic thought and culture in modern Japan, as well as in the literary, cultural and philosophical expressions of public thought and values. Recently, he has served as co-editor of The Journal of Japanese Studies, and on the executive board of the Society for Japanese Studies. His writings in Japanese have been prominently published in major Japanese newspapers and journals, and cited by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his book Atarashii Kuni E (2013). Professor Doak's current research focuses on issues related to politics and religion (especially Catholicism) in modern Japan, covering jurisprudence, fiction and literary works, and theology. His most recent book is Tanaka Kōtarō and World Law: Rethinking the Natural Law Outside the West (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He holds a Ph.D in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago.

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