Re-engaging with the Pure Theory of Law developed by Hans Kelsen and the other members of the Viennese School of Jurisprudence, this book looks at the causes and manifestations of uncertainty in international law. It considers both epistemological uncertainty as to whether we can accurately perceive norms in international law, and ontological problems which occur inter alia where two or more norms conflict. The book looks at these issues of uncertainty in relation to the foundational doctrines of public international law, including the law of self-defence under the United Nations Charter, customary international law, and the interpretation of treaties.
In viewing international law through the lens of Kelsen’s theory Jörg Kammerhofer demonstrates the importance of the theoretical dimension for the study of international law and offers a critique of the recent trend towards pragmatism and eclecticism in international legal scholarship. The unique aspect of the monograph is that it is the only book to apply the Pure Theory of Law as theoretical approach to international law, rather than simply being a piece of intellectual history describing it.
This book will of great interest to students and scholars of public international law, legal theory and jurisprudence.