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Authority and authorisation

Law and Philosophy 19 (2):201-222 (2000)
The core of Kelsen's strong views on authority emerging from his concept of law is this:Authority of law, authority in law and authority about law are one and the same thing. The conceptual problems suggested by these three different prepositions must and can be solved in one fell swoop. Kelsen's core view will first be probed by giving an account of what is a promising approach offered in a fairly early text, Das Problem der Souveränität, namely, what it means to `set' or `posit' the law. Inevitably, this leads to an interpretation of the Grundnorm, one that intends to accommodate as many Kelsenian emphases as possible. The Grundnorm will be presented as a shield against hypostatising authority. From there, some characteristics will be inferred of the type of authority that arises from Kelsen's account of legal knowledge, which will be called, somewhat polemically, authority without an author.
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