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Are Institutions and Empiricism Enough?

Matthew J. Lister

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department

May 24, 2011

2 Transnational Legal Theory 127 (2011)
U of Penn Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 11-18

Legal philosophers have given relatively little attention to international law in comparison to other topics, and philosophers working on international or global justice have not taken international law as a primary focus, either. Allen Buchanan's recent work is arguably the most important exception to these trends. For over a decade he has devoted significant time and philosophical skill to questions central to international law, and has tied these concerns to related issues of global justice more generally. In what follows I review Buchanan's new collection of essays, Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force, paying special attention to Buchanan's argument that the philosophy of international law must be more empirically informed than it has been so far, and also to his claim that greater emphasis must be placed on the role of institutions. While these are important claims, I show that Buchanan often does not take the first far enough, and that appealing to institutions cannot do as much as Buchanan hopes or needs if his substantive conclusions are to be correct.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 7

Keywords: International law, human rights, philosophy, empirical studies, Jurisprudence, Legitimacy, Allen Buchanan, Global Justice, Just War, Preventive War, Preemptive War, Institutionalism

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Date posted: May 3, 2011 ; Last revised: July 14, 2016

Suggested Citation

Lister, Matthew J., Are Institutions and Empiricism Enough? (May 24, 2011). 2 Transnational Legal Theory 127 (2011) ; U of Penn Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 11-18. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1825132

Contact Information

Matthew J. Lister (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department ( email )
3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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