Chapter

The General Norms of Positive Morality and Positive Law are always Hypothetical

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198252177.003.0005
The General Norms of Positive Morality and Positive Law are always Hypothetical

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For every conditional norm, there is a statement about the occurrence of the act of which the conditional norm is the meaning, such as ‘God commanded that if someone makes a promise he is to keep it’ or ‘The legislator has commanded that if someone commits theft he is to be punished’. These statements are true even if no one makes a promise or commits theft. For it is not the act of which the norm is the meaning which is subject to a condition, but the meaning of the act: the ought-to-keep-promises, the ought-to-be-punished.

Keywords: positive morality; positive law; norms; conditional norm; ought-to-keep-promises; ought-to-be-punished

Chapter.  1460 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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