The Jurisprudential Foundation of Law, Especially International Law: the Basis for True Progress & Reform


This essay makes a unique case for the existence of justice, higher law and virtue by drawing on classic thinkers from both East and West. It asserts that no better jurisprudential foundation can be found. The need for this foundation emerges more clearly in the international context, but it applies to all legal systems.

After introducing the topic, explaining the relevance of this jurisprudence, responding to objections, and critiquing competing approaches, this essay presents pertinent sources from the East. Well-regarded in the East but less known to the West, writers such as Mencius, Tao, Hsuntze, and the Neo Confucianists from Chu Hsi present indicators of this jurisprudential foundation.

Subsequently, this essay focuses on the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle—among the most important and influential thinkers in Western civilization. Their contributions carry tremendous implications for a sound jurisprudence.

As the footnotes indicate, a broad-ranging interdisciplinary interplay takes place with literary, historical, philosophical, legal, and other sources. This blend drinks deeply from profound wells of wisdom and insight. It synthesizes contributions emerging from a diversity of cultures, time periods, disciplines, geographic venues, and other traits: it rewards broad and open-minded engagement.

This essay seeks to blaze a trail overgrown and obscured by the presently in-vogue approaches. This confluence of great thinkers from East and West together provide weighty evidence that justice, higher law and virtue deserve to emerge from their eclipse over the past century to the present: this essay seeks to make this case.


International Law | Jurisprudence | Law and Society | Public Law and Legal Theory

Date of this Version

February 2005