Ius Gentium: a stoical approach to global constitutionalism


  • Johan van der Walt University of Luxembourg
  • Ricardo Spindola University of Luxembourg


Hegel, Kelsen, Weimar Republic, Cosmopolitanism, Detachment


The hypothesis of this paper is that the political turmoil of the Weimar Republic and the rise of populist movements in our own time can be interpreted in terms of a tension between a politics based on “universal” moral values and the ethics of detachment without which this politics is impossible, on the one hand, and the desire for concrete and attached political self-expression, on the other. The first section of this paper will engage with the essential elements of Stoic philosophy. It will, however, only refer briefly to the ancient Stoics for this purpose. It will, instead, engage with the modern Stoicism that almost triumphed but ultimately perished in the philosophy of Hegel. The second section will engage with some aspects of the constitutional debates of the Weimar Republic. Lastly, the third section will briefly put forward the essential contention regarding law and international law – or global constitutionalism – that neo-Stoic detachment renders thinkable.

Author Biographies

Johan van der Walt, University of Luxembourg

Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Luxembourg

Ricardo Spindola, University of Luxembourg

Doutorando em Direito pela Universidade de Luxemburgo





Philosophy of Human Rights