Philosophy of International Law

Allen Buchanan and David Golove

in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270972
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Philosophy of International Law

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  • Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law
  • International Law



This article emphasizes the task of framing some of the central issues of the philosophy of international law. It addresses the normative dimension of international law—the moral theory of international legal doctrine and institutions—not what Hart would call the analytic dimension, and not the epistemology of international law. It develops a concept of the relationship between normative theorizing about international law and the realities of the current state-centred international system. It articulates most of the issues a normative theory of international law must address, indicating the key choices, which a theorist faces, and thereby suggests an agenda for further research. It also discusses human rights, humanitarian intervention, and the conditions for the legitimacy of governments which will have direct and fairly obvious implications.

Keywords: normative dimension; international law; normative theorizing; human rights; humanitarian intervention

Article.  34124 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law ; International Law

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