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Softness in International Law: A Self-Serving Quest for New Legal Materials: A Reply to Jean D’Aspremont

European Journal of International Law, Vol. 20, p. 897, 2009

Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 10-57

15 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010  

Date Written: October 5, 2010

Abstract

As international law grows and spreads into non-traditional areas such as the international ecosystem, the global economy, and human rights, some say it is becoming fragmented. This notion can actually appeal to those scholars who want to become experts in a fragment without having the burden of connecting it to the rest of international law. Another group views the idea of isolated specialization with apprehension; they feel that international law is and must be a coherent set of principles and rules – coherent in the sense that no member of the set contradicts any other member. The burden of resolving the tension between the two groups seems unfairly allocated: the first group simply asserts that international law is incoherently pluralistic, while the second group feels the need of disproving that assertion. To meet the burden of persuasion the second group needs to find an overarching theory of international law which could pull together most of the fragments into a coherent set and modify or delete the remaining fragments that do not fit.

Keywords: International Law, Theory of International Law, Soft law, Interstate Interventions, Opinio Juris, Norms, Sanctions

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

D'Amato, Anthony, Softness in International Law: A Self-Serving Quest for New Legal Materials: A Reply to Jean D’Aspremont (October 5, 2010). European Journal of International Law, Vol. 20, p. 897, 2009; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 10-57. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1689197

Anthony D'Amato (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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