International Law Framework 2

The value criterion is...consistency with current international law.

Here are some of the best justifications for an international law framework.


I value governmental obligations. The resolution is a question of what developing countries should prioritize, not individual agents. The action of prioritizing is indescribable apart from a reference to the institutional rules of the practice of which the developing country is a part.  Schapiro:

Schapiro, Tamar (Stanford University).  Three Conceptions of Action in Moral Theory, Noûs 35 (1):93–117, 2001.

In his early article, “Two Concepts of Rules,” Rawls sets out to limit the scope of the utilitarian principle by arguing that it is inapplicable to actions of a certain type. His claim is that actions which fall under practice rules, for example actions governed by the rules of games and social institutions, have a structure which is different from the structure of action presupposed by utilitarianism. Such actions are not, therefore, directly subject to utilitarian evaluation. Whereas a practice as a whole can be judged in terms of its overall consequences, Rawls claims, a particular move within a practice can only be judged in relation to the practice rules. Rawls’ argument turns on a conceptual point about the relation between the rules of a practice and the cases to which they are applied. Practice rules, he claims, are “logically prior” to particular cases. “In a practice there are rules setting up offices, specifying certain forms of action appropriate to various offices, establishing penalties for the breach of rules, and so on. We may think of the rules of a practice as defining offices, moves, and offenses. Now what is meant by saying that the practice is logically prior to particular cases is this: given any rule which specifies a form of action (a move), a particular action which would be taken as falling under this rule given that there is the practice would not be described as that sort of action unless there was the practice.” Rawls illustrates the logical priority of practice rules over actions with reference to moves in the game of American baseball. Outside the “stage-setting” of the game [of baseball], it is certainly possible to “throw a ball, run, or swing a peculiarly shaped piece of wood.” But it is impossible to “steal base, or strike out, or draw a walk, or make an error, or balk.” Where the rules of baseball are in force, movements come to constitute moves of particular kinds, and conversely in the absence of such rules, actions which might appear to be moves are properly described as mere movements. In this respect, Rawls claims, practice rules differ from another general class of rules called “summary rules.” Summary rules are “rules of thumb.” Their role is to [They] allow us to approximate the results of applying some more precise but perhaps more unwieldy principle to particular cases. As such, summary rules are arrived at by generalizing the results of the prior procedure. They are “reports” of these results, presented as guides for deliberating about what to do in cases which are relevantly similar to those used to generate the reports. Summary rules are therefore logically posterior to the cases to which they apply. For in order to specify a summary rule, it is necessary to generalize over some range of cases, and the relevant descriptions of these cases must be given in advance if generalization over them is to be possible. Whereas summary rules presuppose the existence of a well-defined context of application, the establishment of a practice imposes a new conceptual and normative structure on the context to which they are to apply. In this sense, a practice amounts to “the specification of a new form of activity,” along with a new order of status relations in which that activity makes sense. From the point of view of a participant, the establishment of a practice transforms an expanse of grass into “playing field,” bags on the ground into “bases,” and individuals into occupants of determinate “positions.” Universal laws come to hold a priori, for example that “three strikes make an out,” and that “every inning has a top and a bottom.” And within that new order people come to have special powers, such as the power to “strike out,” or to “steal a base.” The salient point for Rawls’ purposes is that there [Practice rules] are constitutive constraints on the exercise of these new powers, constraints by which any participant must abide in order to make her movements count as the moves she intends them to be.

This means for any prioritization to count as resolutional action, it must be done within the practice of international law.

Rules of international law define what it means to be a country in the international arena, even if states have different domestic ends. Nardin

Terry Nardin, “International Ethics and International Law”. Review of International Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 19-30, published by Cambridge University Press. JStor, Stable URL: . RP 2/6/13

Any description of the international system as an association of states that share certain ends is necessarily incomplete. Such an association would not constitute a rule-governed moral or legal order. What transforms a number of powers, contingently related in terms of shared interests, into a society proper is not their agreement to participate in a common enterprise for as long as they desire to participate, but their participation in and implicit recognition of the practices, procedures, and other rules of international law that compose international society. The rules of international law, in other words, are not merely regulatory but constitutive: they not only create a normative order among separate political communities but define the status, rights, and duties of these communities within this normative order. In international society 'states' are constituted as such within the practice of international law; 'statehood' is a position or role that is defined by international law, not independent of it.International law includes rules that are the outcome of cooperation to further shared goals as well as rules that make such cooperation possible and that exist even where shared goals are lacking. But it is rules of the latter sort that are fundamental. First, the particular arrangements through which states cooperate to promote shared goals themselves depend on having available authoritative procedures for negotiating such arrangements. These procedures, embodied in customary international law, are prior to the treaties, alliances, and international organizations through which states cooperate. Customary association. international law is thus the foundation of all international

Secondly, it is the rules of customary international law that delimit the jurisdiction of states, prohibit aggression and unlawful intervention, and regulate the activities of treaty-making, diplomacy, and war. Because they govern the relations of enemies as well as of friends, these rules provide a basis for international order even in the absence of shared beliefs, values, or ends. By requiring restraint in the pursuit of national aims and toleration of national diversity, customary international law reflects the inevitably plural character of international society and may be said to constitute[s] a morality of states, one that is a morality of coexistence.

Thus the standard is consistency with current international law. Impact analysis:

1. Governments are necessarily legal constructs, because every other feature of it changes. The policymakers and individual agents have a plurality of views that is constantly in flux, but the only static characteristic of a government is simply that it is a legal construct, so my framework is the only way to make sense of the resolution.

2. Proving that resource extraction is necessary to some to other practice beside international law does not negate. If only instrumental ends are valuable, then an action is right indexed to the particular end that it promotes. But because there is no ultimate end that is good independent of an index, proving that EP should be prioritized over RE indexed to the end of consistency with international law is sufficient to prove the resolution true regardless of whether RE should be prioritized over EP indexed to some other end. Those statements would not be contradictories. Rodl explains with an analogy to coherentism: 

Rödl, Sebastian. Self-Consciousness, Harvard University Press, 2007. pg. 71.

This view is untenable for reasons analogous to those we mounted against the corresponding account of instrumental reasoning. Suppose the normative order of the question what to believe, on an occasion of its being asked, is a set of propositions ∑. In order to indicate this, we give the imperative an index specifying that set; we write, not “It is right to believe p because ∑” but “It is right∑ [right given a particular index] to believe p”. Now, nothing we said about [the index] ∑ excludes that it may be right∑ [right given an index] to believe p and [right given an index] right∑ to believe non p. Thinking it is right∑  to believe p peacefully coexists with thinking it is right∑ to believe non p. This shows that, thinking it is right∑  to believe p, I have not determined what to believe. For, thinking this is not having affixed myself to p in a manner that excludes affixing myself in the same way to non p. But thinking it right to believe p—thinking is true—is so affixing myself to p.

Proving the converse of the resolution typically proves the resolution false only because the resolution’s converse is a contradictory of the resolution. If all ought statements are indexed to an instrumental end, then the resolution and its converse are not contradictories—the statements “developing countries ought to prioritize EP indexed to end A” and “developing countries ought to prioritize RE indexed to end B” can both be true without contradiction. Thus, proving the truth of the resolution’s converse does not deny the resolution’s truth.

3. Consequentialist impacts are irrelevant- the standard concerns behavior within an institutional practice, not the desirability of states of affair that promote that practice. The purpose of a practice for agents situated within the practice is conformity to the rules of the practice. Nardin 2

The first thing to observe in considering this objection is that the 'purposes' of a practice are not necessarily the same as the purposes either of those who designed the practice or of those who may participate in it. From the standpoint of [for] an umpire supervising a particular game of chess, the paramount consideration governing the play is that it should be in conformity with the rules of chess. If a player makes an illegal move, arguing that it will result in amore intellectually challenging game, the proper response is to ignore the argument and prohibit the move. In other words, the kinds of reasons that are valid within the game are different from those that might be considered by chess federation officials contemplating changes in the rules of the game. From the internal perspective of the player or the umpire, the authority of the rules is absolute. Players or umpires may disagree about the interpretation or proper application of the rules, but they may not take the position that a valid, authoritative rule should be set aside. It is also important to distinguish between the intentions that may be embedded in a rule or system of rules and the consequences of observing that rule or participating in the system. The relation between an instrumental rule and its purpose is a causal one: an agent produces a desired state of affairs by acting in the way prescribed by the rule. But the relation between the rules of practical association and its 'purposes' is conceptual rather than causal: the agent achieves these purposes not as a consequence of acting but in acting. Thus, the institution of international law does not 'produce' coexistence as the causal consequence of obeying its rules. On the contrary, co existence is the premise of relations between separate states on the basis of international law. Similarly, international law does not produce legality as a product of obedience but as an integral aspect of behaving lawfully. 

[This framework originally and generously contributed by La Jolla RP.]