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International Law as Social ConstructThe Struggle for Global Justice$
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Carlo Focarelli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199584833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584833.001.0001

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(p.66) 3 Reason
International Law as Social Construct

Carlo Focarelli

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that law is a process inspired by a ‘working’ reason operating in and for society. It argues that certain legal arguments are indeed better than others in society. Theoretical reason ultimately depends on the meanings prevailing in the particular society in which it operates. Formal justice is relative to social context and, like theoretical reason, is used to appropriate universal truth. Practical reason is the reason that works in society. It mainly consists of common sense, social attunement, pre-comprehension, and consideration for the rules of the game prevailing in any particular society. It also amounts to prudence. The discussion concludes that the law must work in people's daily life as they see their own life rather than in the minds of single individuals, no matter how enlightened or learned.

Keywords:   legal arguments, law, theoretical reason, practical reason, common sense, social attunement, formal justice, prudence

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