Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 July 2022
From its inception, international law has been closely linked to philosophy and political theory, and over time competing theoretical approaches have emerged to explain international law’s nature, form, and efficacy. Even today, we associate the most authoritative names in the discipline – whether founders such as Grotius and Vattel or more modern figures ranging from Kelsen and Lauterpacht to contemporary writers such as Chimni, Chinkin, and Koskenniemi – with specific theoretical perspectives that engage foundational questions about international law’s purpose and content.
Every generation of scholars and practitioners reshapes international legal theory as it rethinks international law and its role in international affairs. Two decades ago, the American Journal of International Law (AJIL) published a “Symposium on Methods in International Law.” The AJIL Symposium took place toward the end of the 1990s, during heady times for international law.