The Universal Common Good and the Authority of International Law

Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, Vol. 8, pp. 28-55, 2006

Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 07-36

29 Pages Posted: 8 May 2007

Abstract

This article examines the foundations of international law and the authority of international institutions from the perspective of the intellectual traditions of Roman Catholic social thought and natural law theory. The first half of the discussion focuses on the concept of a "universal common good" which grounds the authority of international law. It identifies four unresolved ambiguities in the idea of a universal common good, which need to be further clarified in order to understand better the role of international law and institutions in the contemporary world. The second part of the article applies the discussion of the universal common good to the analysis of one important aspect of contemporary international law: the authority of international institutions. Using in particular the example of the UN Security Council, the article argues that the decisions of international institutions should be considered to be authoritative in the fullest sense insofar as they serve the universal common good.

Keywords: universal common good, international legal theory, Catholic social thought, international institutions

Suggested Citation

Carozza, Paolo G., The Universal Common Good and the Authority of International Law. Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, Vol. 8, pp. 28-55, 2006, Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 07-36, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=984746

Paolo G. Carozza (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

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