Although Emer de Vattel is widely acknowledged as a pivotal figure in the history of international thought, his legacy remains contested. Scholars struggle to find a comfortable intellectual collocation for what is often seen as an incoherent and contradictory thinker. The present article tackles this interpretation and suggests that the supposed inconsistencies in Vattel’s international thought diffuse once we fully grasp the nature of his intellectual intervention. In order to substantiate this view, the paper focuses on Vattel’s reasoning on the legitimacy of international interventions, as disclosed in his The Law of Nations. It recovers his casuistic mode of reasoning with reference to the historical and intellectual context from which it emerged. The article concludes by suggesting that this long-forgotten mode of reasoning offers a different entry point into current debates on international intervention and the use of force, one that might help us move beyond a merely moralistic approach.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Cello: The legitimacy of international interventions in Vattel’s The Law of Nations
Lorenzo Cello (Univ. of Queensland - School of Political Science and International Studies) has posted The legitimacy of international interventions in Vattel’s The Law of Nations (Global Intellectual History, forthcoming). Here's the abstract: