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The Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy 2016

Art Center of Kobe, Kobe, Japan

Thursday, March 31 - Sunday, April 3, 2016

Abstract Submission Deadline: February 1, 2016

Registration Deadline for Presenters: March 1, 2016


Publish before a global audience. Present in a supportive environment. Network and create new relationships. Hear the latest research. Experience Japan. Join a global academic community.

This international and interdisciplinary conference will again bring together a range of academics and practitioners to discuss new directions of research and discovery in ethics, religion and philosophy. As with IAFOR’s other events, ACERP2016 will afford the opportunity for renewing old acquaintances, making new contacts, and networking across higher education and beyond.

The Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy will again be held alongside the Asian Conference on Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences. Registration for either conference will allow attendees to attend sessions in the other.




ACERP2016 Conference Theme: “Justice”


Justice is one of, if not the most challenging, controversial and complex but also universal concepts at the root of all philosophical, ethical and religious discourse. From ancient times it was a practical challenge to all emerging forms of excessive authority. The Hebrew prophet Amos (c 800 BCE) called for justice to flow like a mighty river (Amos 5:24). The Greek term dikaiosunei was the central issue in Plato’s theory of the state. Jesus of Nazareth instructed his disciples to seek the Kingdom of God and its “justice” (dokaiosunei: St. Matthew 6:33). Justitia was basic to the Roman view of the world: “fiat justitia, ruat caelum”, (may there be justice though the heavens fall). The famous 1217 Magna Carta, agreed to by King John of England still forms an important symbol of liberty to the present day, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities. Lord Denning described it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”. Western law and jurisprudence owe a great deal to it. In modern times, Professor John Rawls revitalised the debate about the nature of justice in his masterpiece Theory of Justice New York: Belknap Press, 1971 in which he linked justice with fairness in an attempt to redefine the concept in the democratic tradition.

Modern theories of retributive justice are concerned with punishment for wrongdoing. That debate as to how to deal with deviant behavior remains. Public hanging, for example, as a deterrent punishment in Britain did not end until the early 20th century. The death penalty remained in force until its abolition for murder in 1965 and finally in all circumstances in 1998. Currently debated alongside older theories of retributive and distributive justice are the more controversial theories of restorative justice (also sometimes called “reparative justice”) that focus on the needs of victims and offenders. The controversy about what is justice remains elusive and enigmatic.

Some of the obvious questions to be asked are how these theories relate to the modern world. A drone aircraft that causes substantial collateral damage is whose responsibility? The designer who intended it for destructive purposes, the military command that deployed it or the individual at the computer that set it in motion? If a war crime is committed, how is the issue of justice to be handled?

Is restorative justice as a system within which convicted criminals confront their victims realistic or even fair to either side?

What would constitute “justice” in the commercial sphere? How can the notion of distributive justice be applied? People engaging financial crimes that impoverish thousands, many of whom may invest in “ethical” businesses, are inflicting damage not merely on their customers, but also on innocent dependents. What punishment is fit for this?

Is the idea of justice as fairness itself not merely a tautology that avoids the question altogether?

This selection of problems and themes call for perpetual reflection, and we are confident that this theme will excite a number of new research avenues. We look forward to this being an intellectually stimulating, enlightening and powerful event. More information on our conference theme and sub-themes.




IAFOR Ethics, Religion & Philosophy Conference Videos




Watch more IAFOR Ethics, Religion & Philosophy conference videos



ACERP2016 Conference Chairs


Stuart Picken IAFOR Staff Profile

Professor Stuart D. B. Picken

ACERP2016 Conference Co-Chair and Featured Speaker

Order of the Sacred Treasure, M.A. (Hons), B.D., Ph.D. (Glasgow), F.R.A.S.
IAFOR International Advisory Board Chair

Stuart D. B. Picken is the founding chairman of the IAFOR International Advisory Board. The author of a dozen books and over 130 articles and papers, he is considered one of the foremost scholars on Japan, China, and globalisation in East Asia. As an academic, Professor Picken has devoted more than 30 years to scholarship in Japan, notably as a professor at the International Christian University in Tokyo, where he specialised in ethics and Japanese thought, and as International Adviser to the High Priest of Tsubaki Grand Shrine (Mie prefecture). He has also served as a consultant to various businesses, including Jun Ashida Ltd., Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Kobe Steel, and Japan Airlines. Full biography.



Professor Frank S. Ravitch

ACERP2016 Conference Co-Chair and Keynote Speaker

Professor of Law and Walter H. Stowers Chair in Law and Religion, Michigan State University College of Law

Professor Ravitch has published a number of law review articles addressing U.S. and Japanese constitutional law, law & religion, and civil rights law in leading journals. He has written a number of amicus briefs addressing constitutional issues to the United States Supreme Court. In 2001, Professor Ravitch was named a Fulbright Scholar and served on the Faculty of Law at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. Currently, he directs the Michigan State University College of Law Japan Summer program. Professor Ravitch regularly serves as an expert for print and broadcast media, and speaks on topics related to U.S. Constitutional Law, Japanese Law, and Israeli Law to a wide range of national, international and local organisations. He speaks English, Japanese, and Hebrew. Full biography.



Dr. Brian A. Victoria

ACERP2016 Conference Chair and Featured Speaker

Fellow, Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies
Dr. Brian A. Victoria is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and a 1961 graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska. He holds a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University.

In addition to a second, enlarged edition of Zen At War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Brian’s major writings include Zen War Stories (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003); an autobiographical work in Japanese entitled Gaijin de ari, Zen bozu de ari (As a Foreigner, As a Zen Priest), published by San-ichi Shobo in 1971; Zen Master Dōgen, coauthored with Prof. Yokoi Yūhō of Aichi-gakuin University (Weatherhill, 1976); and a translation of The Zen Life by Sato Koji (Weatherhill, 1972). In addition, Brian has published numerous journal articles, focusing on the relationship of not only Buddhism but religion in general, to violence and warfare. Full biography.


View all Keynote Speakers, Featured Speakers and Conference Chairs



IAFOR Publishing Opportunities




The IAFOR Journal of Ethics, Religion & Philosophy is an editorially independent journal associated with IAFOR’s Conferences on ethics, religion & philosophy. A small number of papers from the Conference Proceedings are selected by the journal editor. Articles may also be submitted directly by contacting the appropriate editor. IAFOR journals are open access publications, which conform to the highest academic standards, reflect the interdisciplinary and international nature of our conferences and are organised thematically.



Conference Proceedings

If your abstract is accepted and you have registered for the conference, you are encouraged to submit a full paper for inclusion in the official Conference Proceedings published on the website. Final papers should be uploaded through the submissions system. Please ensure that your paper is ready to go to press by the submission deadline.




THINK, The Academic Platform, is IAFOR’s online magazine, publishing the latest in interdisciplinary research and ideas from some of the world’s foremost academics, many of whom have presented at IAFOR conferences. Content is varied in both subject and form, with everything from full research papers, to shorter opinion pieces, interviews, podcasts, film and photography.



IAFOR University & Institutional Partners


The International Academic Forum works with our partner institutions to encourage the best in international, intercultural and interdisciplinary research at this conference.

We work with senior administrators and professors to develop programmes which are timely, thought-provoking and academically rigorous. This global partnership alliance means that our interdisciplinary conferences are backed by some of the world’s foremost institutions of learning. Read more about our partners.

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