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Rules, Norms, and Decisions
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Book description

This book assesses the impact of norms on decision-making. It argues that norms influence choices not by being causes for actions, but by providing reasons. Consequently it approaches the problem via an investigation of the reasoning process in which norms play a decisive role. Kratochwil argues that, depending upon the strictness the guidance norms provide in arriving at a decision, different styles of reasoning with norms can be distinguished. While the focus in this book is largely analytical, the argument is developed through the interpretation of the classic thinkers in international law (Grotius, Vattel, Pufendorf, Rousseau, Hume, Habermas).

Reviews

‘Kratochwil’s book marks a major event in international relations theory. It demonstrates persuasively that it will not do to think of the international realm merely in terms of social physics, with billiard-ball states bouncing and balancing about; not merely in the instrumental rationality of the irrepressible utilitarians, who now vie for hegemony via game theory. International life, he shows, like domestic life, is constituted of rules, norms and conventions that are not epiphenomenal adjuncts of ‘structures’, and that give meaning both to the nature of units as well as the reasons for their actions.’

John Gerard Ruggie - Colombia University

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