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Part II Approaches, Ch.20 International Legal Positivism

Jörg Kammerhofer

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

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

This chapter explores the role of positivism in international law, noting that the term ‘positivism’ itself has many connotations, most of which muddy an already neglected—yet strikingly pervasive—approach to international law. On that note, the chapter explores the differences (and overlaps) between positivism and formalism; then, it shows how radically different modern, philosophically- and jurisprudentially-informed forms of international legal positivism are, how little they are touched by the constant attack on the positivist–voluntarist straw man, and how unfair it is to lump them together with unthinking ‘positivists’:. Following these arguments is a reconstruction of the Neo-Hartian Socio-Psychologico-Linguistic school of positivism.

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