Chapter

The Functions of Norms: Commanding, Permitting, Empowering, Derogating

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/9780198252177.003.0025
The Functions of Norms: Commanding, Permitting, Empowering, Derogating

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The specific function of a norm is to command a certain behaviour. ‘To command’ is synonymous with ‘to prescribe’ (as opposed to ‘to describe’). Describing is the meaning of an act of cognition; prescribing is the meaning of an act of will. A person describes something by stating how it is; a person prescribes something—especially a certain behaviour—by expressing how it ought to be. Commanding and prohibiting can be distinguished linguistically. But they are not two different functions, but rather the same function relative to different behaviour: an action and the omission of this action. Every prohibition can be represented as a command.

Keywords: commanding; permitting; empowering; derogating; norms function; cognition; human behaviour

Chapter.  2882 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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