Law and Philosophy 19 (2):173-199 (2000)

According to Kelsen, law is a sense content and law has authority. The combination of these two claims appears puzzling. How is it possible for a sense content to have authority? Kelsen's notion of `basic norm' seems to provide an answer to this question. Such an answer, however, simply leads to a new formulation of the question itself. How is a basic norm possible? Kelsen's multiple and tentative answers to this question turn out to be untenable. A different starting point might be provided by Kelsen's notion of `social power'. On closer scrutiny, however, an empowerment account of Kelsen's concept of the authority of law proves unsatisfactory. Thus, our review of some candidate models for a Kelsenian explication of the authority of law shows that none of them is a viable hypothesis. Kelsen's concept of the authority of law is, at bottom, unintelligible.
Keywords Law   Logic   Philosophy of Law   Law Theory/Law Philosophy   Political Science   Social Issues
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/3505164
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,959
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On Referring.Peter F. Strawson - 1950 - Mind 59 (235):320-344.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
44 ( #256,880 of 2,504,831 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,306 of 2,504,831 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes