The Grotian Conception of International Society (1966)

  • Kai Alderson
  • Andrew Hurrell


This paper was presented to, and discussed by, the British Committee on 14 and 15 April 1962. In the previous paper (‘Society and Anarchy in International Relations’) Bull was concerned with establishing the basic idea of an international society and sought to contrast it with both a Hobbesian image of unbridled anarchy and a Kantian vision of universal community. In ‘The Grotian Conception of International Society’ Bull unpacks the tradition of international society itself. He identifies a pluralist conception of international society, associated here with Vattel, the nineteenth-century positivist international lawyers and, in particular, with the work of Lassa Oppenheim, and he seeks to contrast this with the solidarist conception which he associates with Grotius and what he terms the ‘neo-Grotians’.


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  1. 1.
    Cornelius van Vollenhoven, The Three Stages in the Evolution of the Law of Nations (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1919).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sir Hersch Lauterpacht, The Grotian Tradition in International Law’, British Yearbook of International Law (1946).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. Oppenheim, International Law, vol. I: Peace (London: Longmans, 1905), vol. II: War and Neutrality (London: Longmans, 1906). All subsequent references are to this first edition.Google Scholar
  4. 25.
    Quoted by H. Lauterpacht in ‘Rules of Law in an Unlawful War’, in G. A. Lipsky (ed.), Law and Politics in the World Community, (Berkeley: University of Galifornia Press, 1953), p. 97.Google Scholar
  5. 31.
    For the former view see H. Lauterpacht, International Law and Human Rights (London: Stevens, 1950). For the latter view, C. Wilfred Jenks, The Common Law of Mankind (London: Stevens, 1958).Google Scholar
  6. 37.
    Lauterpacht, ‘The Grotian Tradition in International Law’, British Yearbook of International Law (1946), p. 36.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kai Alderson
  • Andrew Hurrell

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