Law and Philosophy 19 (2):263-281 (2000)
In Kelsen's formalist and reductionist theory of law, the concepts of `authority' and `competence' may be explained exclusively in terms of those norms on which the validity of other legal norms or of legal acts is dependent. Kelsen describes the nature of these norms in different ways; at least three different conceptions can be distinguished. A rational reconstruction of the most plausible of these conceptions will understand sentences expressing such `norms of competence' either to state truth conditions for normative sentences of a lower level or to state criteria for an act to be a legal act. In both functions, norms of competence regulate the creation of normative facts.
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