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Response: The Perils of Exaggeration

Oxford University Press
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  • Law
  • Philosophy


1 Sovereignty and Monism Some of the points made in these comments presuppose that I have a more radical agenda than in fact I have. In this article, I wanted to reorient our understanding of the national state's position in international law, from that of subject to that of source and agency of that legal system, and I wanted to explore the implications of this reorientation for our understanding of the rule of law in the international realm. This reorientation of course requires us to take international law seriously. But it does not necessarily require any particular philosophical view of the relation between international law and national law. 1 In particular it does not direct us to any sort of jurisprudential monism (although it is not incompatible with monism). I think it is quite compatible with a dualist view of the relation between international and national law (not that it commits us to dualism either). It simply assigns the state a somewhat different role from that conventionally assigned in dualist theories. My analysis implies that some of what we would call national state and legal functions can (and should) sometimes be conceived as functions of the international legal system. When a state patrols its borders, for example, it is acting in part as an agency of the international refugee regime. 2 But the exercise of any given legal function can be understood in multiple ways

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