The Personal and Material Spheres of Validity

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI:
The Personal and Material Spheres of Validity

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When the norm commands, empowers, or positively permits a certain behaviour, it is not the human being in his entirety which is subject to a norm, but always only a certain behaviour of his. Human beings as such are concerned by norms only to the extent that a norm decrees to be obligatory a certain act against a specific human being (for instance, a legal norm prescribing the death penalty or deprivation of freedom). But this relation does not represent the personal sphere of validity of a norm. This sphere of validity is concerned with the personal element of the behaviour specified in the norm. It can also be limited or unlimited. A moral order can claim to be valid for all human beings, that is, the behaviour specified by the norms of this order is the behaviour of every human being and not merely of human beings specified by the moral order.

Keywords: norm validity; legal norm; death penalty; individual freedom; behaviour; moral order

Chapter.  831 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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