Ideals and Things: International Legal Scholarship and the Prison-House of Language

34 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2017

See all articles by James Boyle

James Boyle

Duke University School of Law

Date Written: March 1, 1985

Abstract

The search for a "theory" of international law, no less than the oft repeated claims about "new directions," seems to me to be the incarnation, within the formalized language of scholarship, of a number of complex and contradictory yearnings - yearnings which are a central feature of the lives of international lawyers, scholars and activists. The strange thing about these yearnings (and it may also be sad, inevitable, or merely comical, depending on your perspective) is that the very language in which they are expressed tends both to exacerbate them and to deny us the possibility of ever dealing with them. I want to discuss these yearnings and the kinds of thinking they might lead us to engage in.

Suggested Citation

Boyle, James, Ideals and Things: International Legal Scholarship and the Prison-House of Language (March 1, 1985). Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 26, No. 3, 1985, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3084988 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3084988

James Boyle (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

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