Chapter 36: Interpretivism
Restricted access

Interpretivists seek to provide an explanatory account of shared practices (that is, the international legal order) by rationally reconstructing the motivations of participants within such practices. The international legal theories of Weil, Oppenheim and the Policy Science School apply an interpretive method, similar to Weber’s, to the study of international law. Dworkin’s general legal theory, called ‘constructive interpretation’, was considered in relation to international law in his final work. Lauterpacht’s ‘progressive interpretation’, developed in the 1930s, offers a philosophy of international law which is very similar to that of Dworkin. These approaches are set out and explored in what follows. Moreover, it is suggested that interpretivist method was explored and endorsed in international law (many years before it was developed in general legal theory) because it offered a plausible and robust method by which a single international legal order could be forged from disparate fragments of international and diplomatic practice.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Other access options

Redeem Token

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institutional Access

Personal login

Log in with your Elgar Online account

Login with your Elgar account