Perfectionist Liberalism and the Legitimacy of International Law

Wojciech Sadurski, Michael Sevel, and Kevin Walton (eds), "Legitimacy: The State and Beyond", Oxford University Press, 2019

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/48

28 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2018 Last revised: 18 Apr 2019

See all articles by Michael Sevel

Michael Sevel

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: August 15, 2018

Abstract

This paper explores the prospects and problems of extending Joseph Raz’s perfectionist liberalism to the justification of international law and institutions. For example, in extending value pluralism to the international arena, how may international organizations pursue the ideal of (personal) autonomy in an analogous way as the perfectionist liberal state, in regards to its own citizens? Does the same principle of toleration of a wide range of valuable social forms of life extend to how international institutions develop and apply norms across and within states, especially international courts which adjudicate disputes across a diversity of cultures and communities? The paper explores ways to approach these questions, and outlines reasons for preferring such an approach to Rawlsian approaches, which rely on an implausible doctrine of respect for persons. More generally, the paper aims to extend the full extent of Raz’s political philosophy to questions of international law, whereas writers, over the last decade, have drawn primarily on his much-discussed theory of political authority to explain international legal phenomena.

Keywords: Legitimacy, International Law, Liberalism, Perfectionism, Joseph Raz, Rawls

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K30, K33, K40, K42

Suggested Citation

Sevel, Michael, Perfectionist Liberalism and the Legitimacy of International Law (August 15, 2018). Wojciech Sadurski, Michael Sevel, and Kevin Walton (eds), "Legitimacy: The State and Beyond", Oxford University Press, 2019, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/48, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3231655

Michael Sevel (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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