Vol 21 No 1 (2021)
Allgemeine Theorie der Normen 1979-2019

A Path that Forks. Legal Science between Is and Ought

Riccardo Guastini
Tarello Institute for the Philosophy of Law, University of Genoa
Published November 12, 2021
Keywords
  • pure theory of norms,
  • legal norms,
  • legal statements,
  • legal statements about norms,
  • validity,
  • logic of norms,
  • logic of legal statements
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Abstract

Distinguishing between law and legal science –between legal norms and the juristic description of norms– is a crucial point for the pure theory. Nonetheless, Kelsen seems unable to give a consistent and satisfactory account of both the wording and the logical form of legal statements (or propositions of law), that is, the sentences by which legal scholars are supposed to describe the law. In particular, he cannot decide whether legal statements are empirical (is-) or normative (ought-) sentences. This is especially clear in his posthumous General Theory of Norms.