Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter observes that with treaties, customs, general principles, decisions, doctrines, and soft law, we are dealing first and foremost with signs. The very structure of signs is inference. This reveals the necessity of interpreting all sources of law. Because doctrine’s first task is interpretation, its role in understanding law is essential. Law, therefore, should not be conceived as a science; it is concerned with what is just, not what is true. From that follows the importance of auctoritas and dogmatics: law establishes values to orient practice. Centred on this practice, doctrine, which lies at the foundation of modern international law, reveals itself to be savante rather than scientific or theoretical.

Keywords: Soft law, General principles of international law, Specific treaties

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.