Journal article

Sovereign States and their International Institutional Order : Carrying Forward Dworkin's Work on the Political Legitimacy of International Law

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  • Jus Cogens: a critical journal of philosophy of law and politics (online). - 2020, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 1-28
English International law’s legitimacy has come under serious attack lately, including, and maybe even more so, in regimes considered democratic. Reading Dworkin’s New Philosophy for International Law in the current context is a timely reminder of the centrality of the political legitimacy of international law. Interestingly, indeed, his account does not succumb to the (however progressive) cosmopolitan ideal of an international political community. Nor is it reducible to a concern for domestic justice in which political legitimacy is only self-regarding. By revisiting seventeenth century international legal theories, Dworkin sends both cosmopolitans and statists back-to-back. He (re-)discovers a third way in which to conceive of statehood today: not on its own, but in a mirror-image fashion and against the background of the international institutional order without which there would be no equal sovereign States, but no individual equality either. Carrying Dworkin’s argument forward, this article identifies and discusses three of its crucial contributions with respect to the objects, subjects and institutions of international legitimacy that deserve further attention. It concludes with different proposals regarding the design and organization of other international institutions than States, both public and private, by reference to their relationship to States (and their people). According to Dworkin, this should enable us to improve not only the legitimacy of the international institutional order as whole, but also the political legitimacy of each State therein since both are mutually related.
Faculté de droit
Département de droit international et droit commercial
  • English
Law, jurisprudence
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