Epistemic Forces in International Law
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Epistemic Forces in International Law

Foundational Doctrines and Techniques of International Legal Argumentation

Jean d’Aspremont

Epistemic Forces in International Law examines the methodological choices of international lawyers through considering theories of statehood, sources, institutions and law-making. From this examination, Jean d'Aspremont presents a discerning insight into the way in which international lawyers shape their arguments to secure validation within the international law community.
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Chapter 8: Academic writing

Jean d’Aspremont


This chapter examines contemporary practices pertaining to academic writing and the writing tactics that international lawyers deploy in their pursuit of the social arrangements they contemplate. Academic writing is taken here as one of the key argumentative techniques in any social science. It is certainly not a fully autonomous argumentative technique that can be completely severed from methodology and interpretation which have been examined in the two previous chapters. Methodological and interpretive choices – as much as foundational doctrines – materialize in judgements, pleadings, position papers, as well as scholarly writing. In that sense, academic writing is one of the modes of expression through which foundational doctrines as well as methodological and interpretive choices manifest themselves. Yet, academic writing also comes with its own self-standing tactics distinguishable from foundational doctrines as well as methodological and interpretive choices. Those tactics of academic writing that are distinguishable from interpretation and methodology are of an argumentative nature. In that sense, this chapter should be seen as grappling with practices of argumentation. And there is no doubt that acquiring the mastery of those writing tactics as much as the capacity to decipher their deployment is part of the socialization of international lawyers. Although the socialization of international lawyers includes the mastery of some of the following writing tactics, those tactics are individual as much as collective skills. In other words, they are inherited from the collectivity but the mastery of their technique remains dependent on individual performances.

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