'Three Grades of Evil': Nabokov, Wittgenstein and the Perils of Treaty Interpretation

EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, 10th Anniversary Conference, Vienna, 4-6 September 2014, Conference Paper No. 1/2014

18 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2014

See all articles by Alessandra Asteriti

Alessandra Asteriti

University of Glasgow - School of Law

Date Written: September 4, 2014

Abstract

The article investigates the interpretative practice of investment tribunals in the light of Wittgenstein's theory on rule following and usage, to advance the hypothesis that arbitral tribunals run the risk to interpret the language of the treaties so as to effect a deracination of their terms. In order to do so, the article employs Vladimir Nabokov's reflections on the perils of translation, contextually arguing that the incorporation in investment treaties of language developed in specific domestic frameworks (i.e. United States' constitutional jurisprudence) is an example of semantic hegemony accompanied by hermeneutic conformity on the part of tribunals.

Keywords: Legal theory; law and linguistics; investment law; investment arbitration

Suggested Citation

Asteriti, Alessandra, 'Three Grades of Evil': Nabokov, Wittgenstein and the Perils of Treaty Interpretation (September 4, 2014). EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, 10th Anniversary Conference, Vienna, 4-6 September 2014, Conference Paper No. 1/2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2545469 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2545469

Alessandra Asteriti (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow - School of Law ( email )

Stair Building
5 - 8 The Square
Glasgow, Scotland G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/schooloflaw/staff/researchstudent/asteritia/

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