Kant’s Non-Positivistic Concept of Law

Kantian Review 24 (4):497-512 (2019)

The main thesis of this article is that Kant’s concept of law is a non-positivistic one, notwithstanding the fact that his legal philosophy includes very strong positivistic elements. My argument takes as its point of departure the distinction of three elements, around which the debate between positivism and non-positivism turns: first, authoritative issuance, second, social efficacy, and, third, moral correctness. All positivistic theories are confined to the first two elements. As soon as a necessary connection between these first two elements and the third element, moral correctness, is established, the picture changes fundamentally. Positivism becomes non-positivism. There exist two kinds of connections between law and morality: classifying and qualifying connections. This distinction stems from different sorts of effects that moral defects give rise to. A classifying connection leads to the loss of legal validity, whereas a qualifying connection leads only to legal defectiveness. In Kant’s theory of law both connections are found. The qualifying connection is conspicuous throughout Kant’s theory of law, whereas the classifying connection, by contrast, is rare and well hidden. This will suffice to consider Kant as a representative of inclusive non-positivism.
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DOI 10.1017/s1369415419000281
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References found in this work BETA

Critique of Pure Reason.Gunter Zoller, Immanuel Kant, Paul Guyer & Allen W. Wood - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (1):113.
Legal Positivism: 5½ Myths.John Gardner - 2001 - American Journal of Jurisprudence 46 (1):199-227.
LEGAL POSITIVISM: 5 1/2 MYTHS.John Gardner - 2001 - American Journal of Jurisprudence 46 (1):199-227.
On the Concept and the Nature of Law.Robert Alexy - 2008 - Ratio Juris 21 (3):281-299.

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