Kelsen’s Legal Logic of International Pluralism

Ronnie Hjorth


This paper presents a Kelsenian perspective on international pluralism showing that international pluralism is not necessarily the logical consequence of sovereignty but bestowed upon states by international law through the principle of equality. The paper argues that this leads to an improved concept of international pluralism as more than a by-product of sovereignty logic. Flowing from Kelsenian legal logic, international pluralism and legal cosmopolitanism share the same origin in the Grundnorm. Hence, this perspective on international relations appeases the perceived conflict between international pluralism and cosmopolitanism. Moreover, the paper suggests that the approach provides a different framework for analyzing international norms and practices, their normative relationship and evolution.


Hans Kelsen, International Pluralism, Legal Cosmopolitanism, International Relations Theory, International Law


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