Sources in the Meta-Theory of International Law: Hermeneutical Conversations

Forthcoming in: Samantha Besson / Jean D’Aspremont (eds), The Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2017-02

26 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2017  

Alexandra Kemmerer

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

Date Written: February 24, 2017

Abstract

A meta-theoretical approach to sources opens reflexive spaces, situates theories in time and space, and allows for a contextual interpretation of sources. In this paper, drawing on the hermeneutic philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer and the writings of his most perceptive readers in international law, I develop a concept of reflexive situatedness prompting a constructive contextualization of sources and their interpreters in our ‘normative pluriverse’ (D’Aspremont). Following the traces of international law’s current ‘turn to interpretation’ and a reading of international law as a ‘hermeneutical enterprise’, my assessment of the limits and potentials of Gadamerian philosophical hermeneutics prepares the ground for an analysis of the writings of international lawyers who have developed theories of international legal interpretation inspired by his work — and, in particular, for a closer look at the writings of Outi Korhonen, linking her concept of situationality to an emphasis on context(s) that engages with the rhetorical dimension of Gadamer’s work. Gadamer’s conversational hermeneutics opens new perspectives for a contextual theory and praxis of international legal interpretation that brings together various disciplinary perspectives and cultural experiences, and thereby allows for a more nuanced and dynamic understanding of sources and their interpreters within their respective interpretative communities.

Keywords: context, conversational hermeneutics, Gadamer, hermeneutics, interpretation, meta-theory, philosophical hermeneutics, pluralism, reflexive situatedness, situationality

Suggested Citation

Kemmerer, Alexandra, Sources in the Meta-Theory of International Law: Hermeneutical Conversations (February 24, 2017). Forthcoming in: Samantha Besson / Jean D’Aspremont (eds), The Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017); Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2017-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2923099

Alexandra Kemmerer (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ( email )

Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg, 69120
Germany

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