John Martin Gillroy

Lehigh University
Philosophy & Environmental Policy Design Program

STEPS 434- 1 West Packer Avenue
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA
18015-3001 |  Visit Personal Website

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My interests are in using philosophical arguments, especially from Enlightenment philosophers, to illuminate a more essential and evolutionary understanding of politics, law and public policy. Specifically, I contend that to understand the dynamics of change as they affect human affairs, one needs to not just ‘know’ the observable facts of the issue but the essential assumptions the lawyer or policy-analyst is making about who the person is (e.g. consumer, citizen), what imperatives these assumptions about human character imply for the collective action problems involved in translating individual choice into collective welfare, and the role of the state in sorting the private sphere of choice from the public. To do this I have created a technique built from R.G. Collingwood’s Philosophical Method that translates whole philosophical arguments, or logics of concepts, about human nature (e.g. Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Hegel) into policy paradigms for both an understanding of the status-quo policy or blackletter law and innovative philosophical justifications for change. These paradigms then provide alternative sets of deductive premises for application to the empirical practice of law and public policy. Currently I am involved in a three-book project to illuminate, through my technique, the origin of modern international law using a logic of concepts derived from David Hume, the current dilemmas of the international legal system through the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel, and the future requirements of transnational authority as suggested by the philosophical-policy of Immanuel Kant. I am also the editor of a book series for Palgrave-Macmillan entitled: Philosophy, Public Policy And Transnational Law.

Gillroy, John Martin. 2013. An Evolutionary Paradigm For International Law: Philosophical Method, David Hume & The Essence Of Sovereignty. Basingstoke, and New York, Palgrave-Macmillan.
Abstract: This book conceptualizes international law as an expression of practical reason, focusing on the genesis of modern international law in the essence of the concept of sovereignty. Utilizing the philosophical method of R.G. Collingwood, the essence of sovereignty is sought in a dialectical model drawn from the philosophy of David Hume. John Martin Gillroy transcends conventional social scientific method, political theory, and its understanding of global governance to make the study of the philosophical underpinnings of international law accessible, grounded, and practical. This book provides analytic tools for understanding globalization, international legal thought, legal theory, and political philosophy, offering engaging insights on a complex field of study. It outlines the first of three arguments describing the evolution of international law as a manifestation of practical reason through an application of philosophical method to the source, locus, and scope of the concept of sovereignty. It moves from a dialectic balance favoring utility, to a balance dominated by legal right, and finally to a dialectic of duty to humanity and nature.
Gillroy, John Martin. 2012. "Philosophical-Policy & International Dispute Settlement: ProcessFPrinciple And The Ascendance of the WTO’s Concept Of Justice”, 3 Journal of International Dispute Settlement 53: 59-73.
Gillroy, John M. 2006. "Adjudication Norms, Dispute Settlement Regimes & International Tribunals: The Status Of 'Environmental Sustainability' in International Jurisprudence." Stanford Journal of International Law 42: 1-52.
Gillroy, John M. 2007. "Justice-As-Sovereignty: David Hume & The Origins Of International Law." British Yearbook of International Law. 79: 429-479.
Gillroy, John M. 2009. "A Proposal for 'Philosophical Method' in Comparative and International Law." Pace International Law Review. Paper 302.

Substantive Focus:
Law and Policy PRIMARY
Environmental Policy SECONDARY
International Relations
Comparative Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy History SECONDARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY