The Situationist

Divided Loyalties Symposium

Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 10, 2011

Situationist Contributor Jon Hanson will give the keynote at an interdisciplinary symposium:“Divided Loyalties: Professional Standards and Military Duty Hanson’s talk is titled “Shock Therapy: Changing Unethical Behavior by Understanding its Sources.”

The symposium is being held at Case Western University Law School, and is funded in part by the Arthur W. Fiske Memorial Lectureship Fund. It it co-sponsored by: Center for Professional Ethics, Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, Institute for Global Security Law & Policy, Law-Medicine Center, and Center for Social Justice.

The symposium website summarizes the focus of the conference this way:

There has always been some tension between the ethical, legal, and professional obligations of professionals and the requirements of military service. This tension has been increased by the War on Terror. Physicians, mental health professionals, lawyers, and law enforcement/corrections officers serving in the military have been placed in situations in which their professional ethics, obligations, and legal duties may contradict military necessity or directives, or even place the role of professional in direct conflict with the role of military personnel.

As the management of armed conflict, the law of war, and the professionalization of the military has increased, this tension has similarly increased. Military professionals have been asked to bring their expertise, skills, and professional talents to the prosecution of military action not just as military personnel but as doctors, mental health professionals, lawyers, and law enforcement/corrections officers. Doctors and mental health professionals are charged with supervising and controlling interrogations, lawyers are asked to provide legal opinions and advise on the treatment of prisoners, and law enforcement and corrections officers must guard and control prisoners. While performing these duties military necessity can impose conflicting duties and concerns. The need for information, validation, or security may require different loyalties and focus than the professional duty. The need for information about an upcoming attack that could save the lives of comrades may directly contradict the need for care or treatment of a prisoner.

This symposium brings together professionals, ethicists, theorists and practitioners from medicine, mental health care, the law, law enforcement, and the military to explore these complicated and timely issues in an open and frank discussion.

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You can find more details about the symposium, the participants, and the agenda here.

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