Chicago Journal of International Law


When they can, people like to analogize a seemingly obvious, but unnoticed point to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story of the dog that didn't bark.' In the story, Holmes deduced a murderer's identity because a guard dog failed to bark at the time of the crime, implying that the murderer and the dogs master were one and the same. Similarly, legal scholars like to infer the failure of various parties or institutions to speak up about something as implicit acquiescence. While we all like to make inferences from a dog's silence, however, we often never ask what was wrong with the dog in the first place. International legal scholarship is so frustrating and so disappointing for what it doesn't say, as much as for what it says. We rarely examine, however, what is so wrong with international legal scholarship that causes its failure to bark. At least the dog in the Holmes story had little choice; we can't blame a dog for recognizing the master who trained and fed him. International legal scholars, incredibly, often end up in the same place as the dog even though they now enjoy so many choices or directions in which to work, spanning a number of disciplines and normative outcomes.