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The Mysticism of International Legal Argumentation

by Jean d'Aspremont
30 March, 2016
The Oppenheimer Chair and Inter Gentes: the McGill Journal of International Law and Legal Pluralism are pleased to welcome Jean d’Aspremont for a conference at the Faculty of Law of McGill University.
In this conference, Jean d’Aspremont will introduce his book on ‘the mysticism of international legal argumentation’. Whether it is construed as a set of processes, rules, ideas, discourses, or practices, international law is being argued according to pre-reflective structures. This book is intended as an intervention in the contemporary legal debates about the pre-reflective structures of international legal argumentation. In particular, it seeks to shed a new light on the pre-reflective structures of international legal argumentation by virtue of an original descriptive and evaluative framework that distinguishes between the gospels and the sacred texts of international law. This book does so in discussing some of the most central patterns of argumentative structures of international law, namely sources, statehood, ius cogens, responsibility, custom and the fundamental rights of states.

Applied to contemporary international legal argumentation this three-tier framework will help demonstrate that some resilient type of idealism lingers in international legal argumentation and comes in the form of mysticism. By mysticism the chapters of this book refer to the false genealogy that is established between some patterns of argumentative structures (gospels) and some authoritative instruments (sacred texts) as well as the mainstream conceptualization of such gospels as rules properly so-called. While offering reflections on the enduring mystical character of international legal thought and practice, this book will simultaneously argue that mysticism is an inextricable component of international legal argumentation in that it is what makes international legal argumentation possible. Short of mysticism, this book argues, international lawyers would be unable to formulate international legal arguments and battle with one another when interpreting and constructing the law and the world.

When: March 30th (5:30-7:00 pm)
Where: Room 312, New Chancellor Day Hall
McGill Faculty of Law

Members of the Quebec Bar: This seminar is accredited by a recognized provider for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education/ Formation d’un dispensateur reconnu aux fins de la formation continue obligatoire pour une durée de 1.5 heures.

About the speaker:

Portrait of Professor d'AspremontJean d’Aspremont is Professor of Public International Law at the University of Manchester where he founded the Manchester International Law Centre (MILC) with Professor Iain Scobbie. He is General Editor of the Cambridge Series in International and Comparative Law and director of the Oxford Database on International Organizations. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Journal of International Law. He is series editor of the Melland Schill Studies in International Law.

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