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By John Martin Gillroy (auth.)

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Additional resources for An Evolutionary Paradigm for International Law: Philosophical Method, David Hume, and the Essence of Sovereignty

Example text

But just as he promotes the passions over reason without eliminating the latter as a part of human social life, he promotes process over substantive principle without denying the existence of substantive principle in shaping the process-norm of justice. For Hume, the use of reason to inform principle is left to the idiosyncrasies of each society, as long as these principles do not disrupt the stability of the process of collective action, which is the paramount requirement of the fundamental human passion for society.

62 Lewis maintains that Hume’s concept of convention fits within his model63 and I agree. However, dialectically, the international level of organization produces social convention through the coordination game, while the municipal level stabilizes property within a prisoner’s dilemma. A critical distinction is that, at the municipal level, the player’s motivation to cooperate is different. The tendency of each player is to take advantage of the conventions of property and to free-ride on the cooperation of others in order to protect himself or improve his own lot.

The utility of Hume’s philosophical-policy to international law is that he offers a systematized “philosophical” argument that tells a comprehensive “origin” or source story for the concept of sovereignty in international law. This argument includes a metaphysics of absolute and relative presuppositions that, as we shall see, maps onto our experience of international legal practice. By offering a detailed application of Hume’s philosophical-policy paradigm as legal design, we can begin to see the details of how practical reason describes the origins of human social life and the evolution and refinement of social, political, and legal institutions.

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