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Part I Histories, Ch.11 Schmitt, Schmitteanism and Contemporary International Legal Theory

Robert Howse

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law

Edited By: Anne Orford, Florian Hoffmann

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 13 June 2024

Customary international law — General principles of international law — Relationship of international law & host state law — Sources of international law

This chapter provides an overview of the concepts and arguments of Carl Schmitt (1888–1985)—Hitler’s chief legal official and an international law apologist for Nazi aggression — that have gained the most purchase in contemporary international legal discourse, primarily international legal theory. The chapter critically engages with a select group of scholars who have deployed Schmitt in contemporary international legal theory. These are: Martti Koskenniemi, Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule, Paul Kahn, and Nehal Bhuta. Lastly, the chapter concludes with some observations about what the use of Schmitt in contemporary international legal theory may tell one about the state of the discipline, its fault lines, and anxieties.

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