Universal Ethics

Professor Sean Coyle researches and writes on the significance of peace and justice from the perspective of natural law ethics. His work explores the values of peace and justice as elements of a universal ethics, in distinction from those ethical norms that pertain more specifically to particular societies or political states. 

Minimum morality

Taken together, these values demand respect for property, privacy, enforcement of bargains, suppression and punishment of crime, outlawing acts of serious dishonesty, and securing the internal tranquillity of the state both from internal and external enemies. They require a minimum morality to be injected into the marketplace and public square so as to enable citizens to deal with one another without resort to violence.

Despite the moral relativism of our times, the values of peace and justice are universal values - they apply to all societies at all places and times, and do not pertain to the part of the common good of the community that is specific to particular states. 

‘Just’ punishment

Even violent criminals must rest from contention, and thus require peace. Even thieves, when they are caught, desire a just, rather than an unjust, punishment. 
These values pervade our lives in such fundamental ways that we scarcely notice their operation, and it takes an effort of will to bring them into the foreground of attention. 

  • Professor Sean Coyle is Professor of Jurisprudence at Birmingham Law School