Creative Interpretations: Normative Twists

Ingo Venzke

in How Interpretation Makes International Law

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199657674
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753114 | DOI:
Creative Interpretations: Normative Twists

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  • Public International Law
  • Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


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This chapter engages in a normative assessment of international lawmaking by way of interpretation. It first studies the bittersweet taste of justice in legal discourse and juxtaposes diverging views on semantic change that employ substantive yardsticks. Neither narratives of progress nor realist critiques can categorically convince. Looking at the preconditions that render the exchange of interpretative claims normatively meaningful is more promising but the concept of arguing should not be overburdened with normative aspiration. International law should rather be explored as a medium that helps to justify the exercise of authority. The chapter testes potentials in the developments of legal doctrine in this regard and exposes the normative preferences nested in notions of soft law, subsequent practice, global administrative law and in research centred on international public authority. It closes by outlining a framework for the democratic justification of semantic authority in a normative pluriverse.

Keywords: international law and justice; idealism; realism; communicative action; theory of arguing; soft law; subsequent practice; global administrative law; international public authority; democratic legitimacy

Chapter.  35960 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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