The article explores the contribution of the purity of Kelsen's theory of international law to the exclusion of ethics and political analysis from the workfield of the international lawyer. It is argued that Kelsen's own approach is an epistemologically grounded argument against involvement in the emotional dimension of political relations, which he dismisses as irrational. This is what justifies professional evasiveness in the face of the continuing self-assertiveness of the nation-state. Kelsen is now such a formidable obstacle to the development of the discipline because the profession lacks his general intellectual culture and so is unable to question the foundations of his system.
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