International law and the limits of global justice

Saladin Meckled-Garcia
University College London
There are limits to what can be achieved using the means and medium of international law. This article explores those limits by providing an innovative theory of the nature of international law and how we should understand its limits in terms of value theory. A "four functions" theory is proposed, and these functions are used to interpret areas of international law in terms of their distinctive and valuable contribution to a specific area of human relations. On the basis of this analysis of international law and international legal interpretation, the paper argues that the cosmopolitan aims of a number of moral cosmopolitan scholars fail to taken into account the value limits of international law. This is presented as a value problem, not a problem of feasibility or practicality.
Keywords international law  distributive justice  justice  cosmopolitanism  interpretation
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