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International Law as a System of Knowledge

9781839105579 Edward Elgar Publishing
Ulf Linderfalk, Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden
Publication Date: October 2022 ISBN: 978 1 83910 557 9 Extent: c 272 pp
International law is an underdeveloped branch of legal research: researchers still disagree over the proper understanding of several of its most fundamental issues, and genuinely so. This book helps to explain why. It brings clarity that will no doubt make international legal research more rational, which in turn vouches for a more productive legal discourse.

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International law is an underdeveloped branch of legal research: researchers still disagree over the proper understanding of several of its most fundamental issues, and genuinely so. This book helps to explain why. It brings clarity that will no doubt make international legal research more rational, which in turn vouches for a more productive legal discourse.

The author, together with invited contributors, builds an argument around theories of epistemological justification. As chapters contend, in international legal discourse, the construction of knowledge about international law presupposes some notion of an international legal system. International legal discourse accommodates several such notions. Each notion derives from a different conception of law. Thus, depending on whether a researcher endorses a legal positivist’s, a legal idealist’s or a legal realist’s conception of law, he or she will be constructing knowledge of international law under different epistemic conditions. The book sheds considerable light on these different conditions, with several chapters exploring how the different notions of an international legal system play out in the context of a series of concrete themes of legal practice. In doing so, the book helps to build a bridge between the practical and more philosophical aspects of this topic.

This book will be an ideal companion for scholars of international law. Lawyers and students interested in legal theory and philosophy will also benefit from this thought-provoking study.
Critical Acclaim
‘Professor Linderfalk’s monograph is a fascinating review of international law’s basic concepts through the competing prisms of various theories, such as idealism, realism and positivism. Anyone interested in the dynamics of international legal reasoning in the context of current theoretical diversity in this academic field has to familiarise themselves with this work.’
– Alexander Orakhelashvili, University of Birmingham, UK
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