Legal validity qua specific mode of existence

Law and Philosophy 16 (5):479 - 505 (1997)
Abstract
The author investigates how the conception of legal validity as a specific mode of existence, adopted by Kelsen in Allgemeine Theorie der Normen (General Theory of Norms), can be reconciled with a conception of the legal system in which conflicts of legal norms remain of logical concern. To this end he makes use of Ludwig Wittgenstein's picture theory of the proposition as set out in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The conclusion is that in order to reconcile the two conceptions, the legal system itself must be conceived of as consisting of three sub-systems, namely, (i) a sub-system of perceptible legal judgments, (ii) a sub-system of valid legal conditions, and (iii) a sub-system of observable social practices.
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