Some Limitations of Universal International Law from a Philosophical Point of View

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The expression 'universal international law' is sometimes considered as referring to an existing body of legal norms holding in all or most of the (sovereign) states, sometimes to a wishful state of the art that such a body of legal norms with universal validity exist, for example with the aim of fighting global problems. Leaning on considerations from histories of European foreign policies and science, practice-based philosophy of science and my understanding of Martin Heidegger's phenomenology of technology, I argue for a more fragmented and customised approach of legal governance of the world. As indigenous knowledges and practices were born and evolved in interactions of particular cultures and environments, so have contemporary science and technology that are often called for to help solve global problems. Particularly the (scientific) analytic conceptual frameworks, corresponding view of the world and their claim to universal and certain truth may threaten to engulf local practices and technologies more sustainable in their particular circumstances.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2012

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