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date: 23 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that a meta-theoretical approach to sources opens reflexive spaces, situates theories in time and space, and allows for a contextual interpretation of sources. Drawing on the hermeneutic philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer and the writings of his most perceptive readers in international law, the chapter develops a concept of reflexive situatedness. Following the traces of international law’s current ‘turn to interpretation’ and a reading of international law as ‘hermeneutical enterprise’, the chapter’s assessment of the limits and potentials of Gadamerian philosophical hermeneutics prepares the ground for an analysis of the writings of international lawyers who have developed theories of international legal interpretation inspired by his work. Gadamer’s conversational hermeneutics moreover opens new perspectives for a contextual theory and praxis of international legal interpretation. Such would allow for a more nuanced and dynamic understanding of sources and their interpreters within their respective interpretative communities.

Keywords: Choice of law, General principles of international law, Treaties, entry into force, Treaties, interpretation

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