Symposium: International law and political morality

Alex Green, Alexandra Hearne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This symposium explores the connection between contemporary international law and political morality. Conceptualising political morality as the set of genuine normative reasons that govern how we should interact with each other at the political level, the four papers presented in the symposium illustrate how analysing international law through the lens of political morality can sharpen our thinking about the prescriptive content and legitimacy of international legal norms, and of the relationship between those norms and the norms of domestic legal orders. Although the papers in the symposium engage with discrete aspects of international legal doctrine, all are united in conceptualising the international legal order as a normative space in which political morality plays a defining role. This introduction to the symposium provides an outline of the papers, detailing the various themes and questions explored therein. It also situates the symposium within the ‘legal interpretivist' and ‘Grotian’ traditions in legal theory, traditions which elevate questions of political morality to the forefront of legal analysis. This introduction also offers some reflections on the reasons for the historical neglect of these traditions in international legal scholarship, and on the potential value of rehabilitating them as tools for analysing and evaluating the contemporary international legal order.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalTransnational Legal Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023

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  • international law
  • political morality
  • symposium
  • normative reasons
  • values
  • legal interpretivism
  • the Grotian tradition
  • legal philosophy

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