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The Innate Cosmopolitan Tradition of International Law

Geoffrey Gordon

Keywords: International law; cosmopolitanism; world phenomenon; sources of law; international legal theory; Spanish school; telos; intersubjectivity

This article develops an account of innate cosmopolitanism in international law and relations. Innate cosmopolitanism stands for the proposition that the world as a whole should be considered as an entity relevant in international legal theory, which has interests and a will of its own capable of giving rise to norms of international law. Although innate cosmopolitanism has not been the subject of a dedicated scholarship, in contrast to better known traditions such as liberal cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitan constitutional theory, the concept of innate cosmopolitanism has informed the historical development of international law. Tracing its development from the 16th century Spanish School, this article addresses the scope and substance of the tradition of innate cosmopolitan thought in the discourse of international law; its domain relative to other streams of cosmopolitan thought in international law; and a critical evaluation of the role of innate cosmopolitan ideas in the discourse and development of international law.

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