By John Martin Gillroy (auth.)
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Additional info for An Evolutionary Paradigm for International Law: Philosophical Method, David Hume, and the Essence of Sovereignty
29 This makes international law static and, without an absolute presupposition, logically circular. It grants us neither a scale of forms with a dynamic dialectic, nor an underlying metaphysics with an integrated system of logical concepts. Consequently, international law lacks foundation to support the source, locus, and scope of practical reason as it faces new and more demanding global challenges. 30 By taking Hume’s logic of concepts and applying the two-step procedure of philosophical-policy and legal design it can be demonstrated that he offers a philosophy that synthesizes the intricate social context of justice with an underlying metaphysics of sovereignty that defines the origins of international law in terms of practical reason.
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. To the degree that the introduction of a substantive principle critical of this process would be disruptive to its stability, it is discounted and discouraged within the logic of concepts that generate social convention. In this way, Hume’s definition of justice is necessarily process-based.
By understanding the essence of Justice-As-Sovereignty as a source of practical reason, we gain a more complete picture of the origin of international law. Philosophical-policy, or the application of philosophical method to the organization and integration of a particular system of thought, like Hume’s, provides a lens that allows one to explicate the categories and ideas of a particular policy paradigm. 32 Unlike the typical social science approach to law, the essential definition of the legal concepts involved are systematically identified and argued, rather than assumed; that is, they are studied through the tenets of Collingwood’s philosophical method.