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The project investigates how specific ways of thinking about international law impact its appearance as more necessary and just.

In particular, it probes how the practice of making sense of international law’s past—especially of past judicial decisions—may contribute to the perceived likelihood of those decisions as well as the degree to which they are thought to be right. the project also investigates the possibly countervailing effect of thinking counterfactually about that past. First studies have shown that, under further conditions, thinking about how it could have been (how a court could have decided otherwise) decreases the actual decision’s perceived likelihood as well as its perceived rightness. The way international law is taught and thought about may thus have considerable consequences on the construction of what is (im)possible and what is (un)just. The project combines questions of (international) legal theory with experimental methods of social-psychology.


Since 2016


Ingo Venzke


  • Kai Jonas (UvA, Social Psychology)
  • Sascha Duken (UvA, Social Psychology)
Prof. I. (Ingo) Venzke

Professor of International Law and Social Justice