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
28 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2018 Last revised: 18 Apr 2019
Date Written: August 15, 2018
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: Suggested Citation