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School of Law

Professor Hans Lindahl, Law degree (5 year program), Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia; minor in Economics, Universidad Javeriana, Colombia; MA in Philosophy, Universidad Javeriana, Colombia; PhD in philosophy, Higher Institute of Philosophy, University of Louvain, Belgium


Chair of Global Law



Hans Lindahl holds the chair of legal philosophy at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, and a chair in global law at Queen Mary University of London. He obtained law and philosophy degrees at the Universidad Javeriana, in Bogotá, Colombia, before taking a doctorate at the Higher Institute of Philosophy of the University of Louvain (Belgium) in 1994. He has worked since at Tilburg, first in the Philosophy Department, currently in the Law School. His primary areas of research are legal and political philosophy. Lindahl has published numerous articles in these fields. His monograph, Fault Lines of Globalization: Legal Order and the Politics of A-Legality, was published with Oxford University Press in 2013 (also published in Italian and Spanish translations). A follow-up monograph, Authority and the Globalisation of Inclusion and Exclusion, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2018. His current research is primarily oriented to issues germane to globalization processes, such as the concept of legal order in a global setting; the relation of boundaries to freedom, justice, and security; a politics of boundary-setting alternative to both cosmopolitanism and communitarianism; transformations of legal authority and political representation; immigration and global justice; collective identity and difference in the process of European integration. In dealing with these topics Lindahl draws on (post-)phenomenology and theories of collective action of analytical provenance, while also seeking to do justice to the nitty-gritty of positive law.

Lindahl is one of the directors of the collaborative PhD-program, Globalisation and legal theory, together with colleagues from Glasgow and Louvain-la-Neuve, which welcomes PhD candidates from around the world to engage in critical thinking about globalization processes at the juncture between philosophy and law. He also coordinates, with Louise Du Toit, the research program, Boundaries and Legal Authority in a Global Context, sponsored by the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, South Africa.


I have been working in the following areas of research:

Legal Philosophy

  • The Concept of Legal Order in a Global Setting
  • Theories of Constituent Power
  • Legal Authority
  • Transnational/Global Constitutionalism
  • Immigration and the EU’s “Area of Freedom, Security and Justice”.

Political Philosophy

  • Theories of Political Agonism
  • Political Representation and Democracy
  • Beyond Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism
  • Politics and Indexicals
  • Collective identity (ipse/idem) and difference (the other/strangeness).

I am happy to draw on (post-)phenomenological philosophy (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Ricoeur, Waldenfels) and on theories of collective action of analytical provenance (Gilbert, Pettit, Bratman) when dealing with these issues. I am also particularly interested in the thinking of and debate between Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt.

Funded research

Five-month Research Fellowship by the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, June-October 2010, with expenditures for the fellowship of €14,700 (ZAR 147,000)

Transformation of the journal Rechtsfilosofie & Rechtstheorie into an Open Access journal. Netherlands Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) for the period 2012-2015. €22,500

Design, coordination of and participation in the research program, ‘Boundaries and Legal Authority in a Global Context’, as part of a five-year research theme sponsored by the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2013-2018), with dedicated funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. This research program, which aims to attract a range of international researchers to work together at STIAS, was drawn up by Lindahl at the behest of STIAS and is specifically tailored to his research interests.

Works in progress

The recent publication of my monograph, ‘Authority and the Globalisation of Inclusion and Exclusion’ (CUP, 2018), has generated considerable interest in the academic community, with symposia in Edinburgh, Queen Mary, Tilburg, Milan, Naples, Hamburg, and Tokyo in 2018 and 2019. A first set of activities into the coming months involves writing replies to critics to respondents of the Queen Mary and Tilburg symposia, which will appear, respectively, in special sections of the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law and the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. I expect that these responses will also generate a range of more elaborate articles to further refine the conceptual, normative and institutional dimensions of a theory of global law as outlined in this book and an earlier book, Fault Lines of Globalization: Legal Order and the Politics of A-legality (OUP, 2013).

A long-range project radicalizes the jurisprudential implications of the general problem of the relation between legal order and boundaries advanced in these two earlier monographs. Indeed, my earlier research takes for granted that, qua species of collective action, legal orders are collectives composed of human participants, whether individuals or groups of individuals. Accordingly, it takes over, more or less unreflectively, the modern nomos/physis divide as a given, assuming that the boundary between law and non-law is none other than the boundary between human and non-human orders. This assumption is becoming ever more problematic in the face of environmental degradation processes, which are truly global in character.

I will focus on challenges to the boundary between (global) law and non-law from the perspective of what has traditionally been excluded from modern law as its other: nature. It is not my aim to simply remove this boundary; instead the objective is to explore how certain kinds of situations might render the boundary between law and non-law, nomos and physis, unstable and provisional, such that legal orders are compelled to redefine themselves, qua collectives, when responding to such challenges.

I envisage exploring two key manifestations of such challenges. The first draws on the notion of planetary boundaries as thresholds of biophysical processes which should not be transgressed if the Earth system is to remain “a safe operating space for humanity.” I conjecture that the emergence of planetary boundaries calls into question the very distinction between environment and law in ways that cannot be accommodated in the current doctrinal and theoretical framework of (environmental) law. The specific focus of this leg of research will be on how (1) normativity might emerge in the modelling of natural phenomena, in particular thresholds of biophysical processes, and (2) how such modelling attests to challenges that demand an iterative response by (global) legal orders to how the physis/nomos boundary is drawn.

The second, ethically more principled, approach I will explore concerns the contestation of the nomos/physis divide, which carries forward the phenomenology of embodiment. With different accents, phenomenological approaches call attention to embodiment as a constitutive feature of human subjectivity. The key questions here are: to what extent is embodiment a condition of possibility of legal order?; and, in what way or ways does embodiment function as a condition for destabilizing all attempts by legal orders to definitively partition reality into the domains of the human and non-human? When addressing these questions, the applicant will engage in a critical but constructive dialogue with, arguably, the most interesting contemporary theorist on the nomos/physis divide in light of the Anthropocene: Bruno Latour.

I envisage publishing a range of articles and a monograph on this topic.


  • Authority and the Globalisation of Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Inside and Outside Global Law: the 2018 Julius Stone Address, under review with the Sydney Law Review.
  • Authority and the Globalisation of Inclusion and Exclusion, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).
  • Possibility, Actuality, Rupture: Constituent Power and the Ontology of Change, in Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory 22 (2015) 2, 163-174.
  • Fault Lines of Globalization: Legal Order and the Politics of A-Legality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • A-legality: Postnationalism and the Question of Legal Boundaries, in Modern Law Review 73 (2010) 1, 30-56.
  • Breaking Promises to Keep Them: Immigration and the Boundaries of Distributive Justice, in Hans Lindahl (ed.), A Right to Inclusion and Exclusion? Normative Fault Lines of the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (Oxford: Hart Publishers, 2009), 137-159.
  • Give and Take: Arendt and the Nomos of Political Community, in Philosophy and Social Criticism, Vol. 32 (2006) 7, 881-901.
  • Finding a Place for Freedom, Security and Justice: The European Unity and its Claim to Territorial Unity, European Law Review 29 (2004), 461-484.
  • Dialectic and Revolution: Confronting Kelsen and Gadamer on Legal Interpretation, in Cardozo Law Review, 24 (2003) 2, 769-798.
  • Authority and Representation, in Law and Philosophy. An International Journal for Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy 19 (2000) 2, 223-246.