Effectiveness, Validity, Positivity

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI:
Effectiveness, Validity, Positivity

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In the case of a legal order, the wish in question is that of avoiding the evil—punishment or execution of judgment—decreed in the primary norm for the violation of the secondary norm. Thus the effectiveness of a norm commanding a certain behaviour is dependent on the effectiveness of the sanction-decreeing norm, the primary norm. This appears to lead to an infinite regress, for in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the primary — sanction-decreeing — norm, further sanctions would have to be decreed as reactions to the violation or observance of this norm. But, in order to be effective, sanction-decreeing norms, unlike other norms, do not need sanctions as reactions to their violation or observance, or need such guarantees to a much lesser degree than other norms which have to command behaviour because this behaviour is, or can be, contrary to the natural inclinations of human beings.

Keywords: effectiveness; validity; positivity; legal order; evil; punishment

Chapter.  1858 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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