Jiewuh Song



Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Seoul National University

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
September 2013‒August 2014; September 2018‒August 2019

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»The Justifiability of International Law«

Project outline:
My research is in the political philosophy of international law. I address puzzles about international law by asking whether the norms at issue are justifiable to each of the persons subject to the norms.
I employ in my research contractualist reasoning, or what we might call justificatory individualism (as distinct from both the explanatory thesis of methodological individualism and substantive political theses about the appropriate relation between the political or social community and the individual). On this approach, norms must be justifiable to each person by appeal to her individual reasons, rather than to some collective, or by appeal to reasons that aggregate claims across persons.
The approach of justificatory individualism throws into sharp relief the claims of non-state actors—importantly, individual persons—whose perspectives international law scholarship often fails systematically to incorporate. By driving the justificatory project all the way down to the individual level, we get a more complete view of the claims that must be taken into account, and the kinds of argument that must be given, in order for international law to be justifiable. The approach is especially useful in theorizing about areas of positive international law that have evolved sporadically to accommodate individuals’ claims, such as human rights law and international criminal law. During my fellowship year, I plan to complete a series of papers in these areas—in particular on human rights obligations, the justifiability of human rights law in relation to economic inequality, and the regional dynamics of International Criminal Court prosecution—with an eye to bringing them together into a larger work on the justifiability of international law. (Jiewuh Song)

Funding of the stay:
»Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global«

Scholarly profile of Jiewuh Song


Jiewuh Song recieved her Ph.D. in Philosophy at Harvard University in 2013. Her thesis was titled »Global Institutions and Relations among Non-Co-Citizens«. In 2013/14 she was, on the invitation of the research centre Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global« a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. Since 2015 she is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Seoul National University.

Main areas of research:
Normative Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law

Selected publications:
  1. »Sovereignty and Subsidiarity«, Korean Journal of Legal Philosophy, 21: 2, 2018.
  2. »Speech, Lies, and Moral Progress«, Chul Hak Sa Sang (Philosophical Ideas), 63, 2017.
  3. »Pirates and Torturers: Universal Jurisdiction as Enforcement Gap-Filling«, Journal of Political Philosophy, 23:4, 2015.