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Dr Kostia Gorobets receives Praemium Erasmianum Dissertation Prize

03 May 2023
Dr Kostia Gorobets

Kostia Gorobets, assistant professor of international law at our Faculty, has won one of the five Research Prizes of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. He is awarded the prize for his PhD thesis Contemplating an uneven landscape: the authority of international law.

PhD Thesis on international law

In his thesis, Gorobets links philosophy of law to international law. He examined how the authority of international law differs from domestic legal systems. International law’s authority is not typically personified in formal institutions and officials, and it features few formal hierarchies. Thus, unlike that of domestic legal systems, the authority of international law is largely unmediated. In five essays, Gorobets argues that this is a misunderstanding.

In his thesis, Gorobets reveals that the strength of international law lies mainly in the particular way it brings moral and political discussions to a different level. The specifically legal manner of argumentation allows different moral and political positions to be reformulated in such a way that a reasonable discussion becomes an option. Gorobets argues that international law derives its authority not only from its normative content, but also from the specific way it supports normative reasoning.

The end result of Gorobets’ thesis is a book in which he offers a theoretical perspective on discussions that are generally heavily modelled on national law. He draws attention to aspects of international law that have remained unexposed in both international law discourse and legal philosophical theories.

Research Prizes

Since 1988, the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation awards a maximum of five annual Research Prizes to young academic researchers who have written a PhD thesis of outstanding quality in the fields of Humanities, Social Science and Law. The prizes are only awarded to researchers working at a Dutch university.

Each Research Prize consists of a sum of €3,000 and a certificate. As many as 32 dissertations were submitted by the various universities this year, from which five winners were chosen.

Award ceremony

This year's award ceremony of the Research Prize will take place at the Paushuize in Utrecht, on Friday 2 June 2023 from 4 p.m. Those interested can register for the event by sending an email to, stating ‘Registration award ceremony’.

This article was published by the Faculty of Law.

Last modified:10 May 2023 4.45 p.m.
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