By John Martin Gillroy (auth.)
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Additional info for An Evolutionary Paradigm for International Law: Philosophical Method, David Hume, and the Essence of Sovereignty
43 In addition, humans are relatively equal in their capacity to secure additional Philosophical Method 25 property or interfere with its acquisition on the part of others, both as individuals and in concert with one another. This rough equality further adds to the instability of social relations. ”44 Since the juxtaposition of all three circumstances works against the coordination necessary to maintain fundamental social stability, justice is necessary to secure more stable coordination than the state of natural equality allows.
In this way “convention” is created, over time, from unconscious overlapping ideas and actions, to stabilize property and to correct for the facts of equality, scarcity, and limited generosity, within the process of human interaction. 45 From all this it follows, that we have naturally no real motive for observing the laws of equity, but the very equity and merit of that observance; and as no action can be equitable or meritorious, where it cannot arise from some separate motive . . 46 Applying Hume’s philosophical-policy to the history of international law, we would expect that the inter-national instability of possession and scarcity, for example, during the Reformation and the wars that followed, caused humanity, first by instinct and then upon reflection, to reorganize their patterns of interaction through the development of alternative sets of conventions, with new positive law to support them.
His synthesized solution to the question of human nature and social order is based on the recognition that the moral or normative arises and changes, on a scale of forms, from the empirical interaction of human beings. From a twenty-first century standpoint, Hume is a “scientist” of human nature and social evolution. But for reasons just explained, this categorization is a misleading one. Hume’s descriptive analysis of causality in the natural world is akin to, but not the same as, his argument for ethics and society.