Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 October 2020
This chapter considers two arguments for international legal skepticism, both of which appeal to an alleged analytical connection between law and coercive enforcement. The first is the legal philosopher John Austin’s characterization of law as the command of a sovereign, or in H.L.A. Hart’s apt phrase, as orders backed by threats. The second treats the mode of enforcement found in the modern state as a necessary condition for the existence of law. If true, each of these conceptual claims provides a sound basis for international legal skepticism. There are compelling reasons to reject them both, however.