Reading 9: Tasioulas

Tasioulas, John (2010). "The Legitimacy of International law." in: S. Besson and J. Tasioulas (eds) The Philosophy of International Law. Oxford University Press: 97-116.


Why this reading?

Tasioulas provides helpful applications of Raz' 'Service Conception' to public international law (PIL), and explores how such an account responds to several pervasive concerns, including fragmentation, accusations of its Western bias, and the role of customary international law. These perspectives may shed light on similar challenges raised against international courts

Questions for discussion

  1. Tasioulas argues that what distinguishes the legitimate authority of public international law from that of domestic laws is not so much the appropriate sense of legitimacy as the content of the laws.  Which are these differences in contents?
  2. Tasioulas applies Raz' Service Conception to PIL in general. How well do his arguments apply also to international courts?
  3. Tasioulas shows how this account might justify why some states refrain from becoming subject to particular ICs in particular domains. What do you make of the argument in principle - and in particular combinations of states and treaties?
  4. How does Tasioulas analyse feminist, anti-globalization and other critics of PIL in general, and international human rights law in particular? Does this way of formulating the criticisms allow them to be applied also to particular international courts - and to test their plausibility?
  5. What are the implications of Tasioulas' arguments about customary international law for how international courts should draw on this source?
Published Apr. 20, 2016 4:30 PM - Last modified Apr. 20, 2016 4:30 PM