Foundational Doctrines and Techniques of International Legal Argumentation
Elgar International Law series
Introduction: the socialization of international lawyers
Although this may be a feeling sometimes more pronounced and accepted in other social sciences, the main purpose of any introduction is the disclosure, with as much self-awareness as possible, of the conceptual premises of the subsequent argument. Needless to say that complete awareness of one’s conceptual premises is unattainable, if not a contradiction in terms. Indeed, self-reflectivity remains carried out according to structures that are inherited from tradition and for which full awareness is not always conceivable. Yet, it seems at least possible to shed light on one’s (self-understanding of the) conceptual premises informing the study that follows. This is the object of the present introduction. In the following chapters, international law is construed as an argumentative practice that articulates itself around a set of foundational doctrines, themselves deployed through a variety of argumentative techniques. According to this understanding, these doctrines and techniques are not considered to have a priori validity and are not postulated in the abstract. Rather they are thought of as being both constitutive and constituted by the community of international lawyers that is organized around international law. This means that, for the chapters that follow, acquiring the mastery of the foundational doctrines and argumentative techniques of international law is what socializes international lawyers as much as those social international lawyers shape those foundational doctrine and argumentative techniques. These elementary premises are all but controversial.