Rights, Duties, and Sanctions

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI:
Rights, Duties, and Sanctions

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The concepts of ‘duty’ and ‘right’ (or entitlement) are intimately connected with the functions of norms. ‘A norm commands a certain behaviour’ is equivalent to ‘A norm imposes a duty to behave in this way.’ ‘A person is “duty-bound” or has a “duty” to behave in a certain way’ is equivalent to ‘There is a valid norm commanding this behaviour.’ A duty is not something distinct from a norm: it is the norm in its relation to the subject whose behaviour is commanded. The behaviour which ‘fulfils’ the duty is the behaviour by which the norm is observed or obeyed, the behaviour which agrees with the norm. The behaviour which ‘violates’ the norm — as we say metaphorically — is the behaviour which does not agree with the norm or — as it is usual to say — ‘contradicts’ the norm.

Keywords: rights; duties; sanctions; behaviour; norm violations; entitlement

Chapter.  1256 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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