Machiavelli at 500: From Cynic to Vigilant Supporter of International Law

Ratio Juris Volume 28 no. 2, 2015: 242-51

PluriCourts Research Paper No. 15-08

13 Pages Posted: 25 May 2015 Last revised: 21 Aug 2015

Date Written: May 23, 2015

Abstract

Machiavelli’s 500 year old treatise The Prince laid out central features of the realist tradition in international relations. His premises led him to question the likelihood of efficacious and stable international law and international courts, a scepticism that has present day proponents. Machiavelli’s reluctance was due to a combination of features of human nature and a focus on anarchic features of the relations among states. The article challenges these assumptions and implications: other interpretations of human nature are closer to Machiavelli’s text, and the current relations among states are significantly different. The revised assumptions should render Machiavelli’s followers more optimistic about international law and international courts.

Suggested Citation

Follesdal, Andreas, Machiavelli at 500: From Cynic to Vigilant Supporter of International Law (May 23, 2015). Ratio Juris Volume 28 no. 2, 2015: 242-51; PluriCourts Research Paper No. 15-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2609761

Andreas Follesdal (Contact Author)

Pluricourts ( email )

P.O. Box 6706
St. Olavs plass 5
0130 Oslo
Norway

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