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May argues that Hobbes is much more amenable to moral, and even legal, limits on the law--indeed closer to Lon Fuller than to today's legal positivists--than he is often portrayed. He shows that Hobbes's views can provide a solid grounding for the rules of war and international relations generally, contrary to the near universal belief that Hobbes is the bete noir of international law. To support these views, May holds that Hobbes places greater weight on equity than on justice, and that understanding the role of equity is the key to his legal philosophy. Equity also is the moral concept that provides restrictions on what a sovereign can legitimately do, and if violated is the kind of limitation on sovereignty that could open the door for possible international institutions.
Larry May is a political philosopher who works on issues of collective responsibility and the just war; and he also works on the normative foundations of international criminal law. He has published a dozen book-length monographs, which have won awards in philosophy, law, and international relations. He has also authored over one hundred articles that have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Serbian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. He is past president of AMINTAPHIL, the American Section of the International Society of Philosophy of law and Social Philosophy, and of the American Society of Value Inquiry. He has served on the board of officers of the American Philosophical Association, and has advised the US State Department, the CIA, and the Indiana Senate.