The Expression of the Norm-positing Act—Statements about Norms

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI:
The Expression of the Norm-positing Act—Statements about Norms

Show Summary Details


The act whose meaning is a norm can be performed in quite different ways. By a gesture: the traffic policeman orders people to stop with a motion of his arm, and then orders them to proceed with another motion of his arm. By other symbols: a red traffic light means that the automobile driver is to stop, and a green that he is to proceed. By spoken or written words: the linguistic expression of a norm can appear grammatically in different forms. The norm can, though need not, be expressed in a sentence, that is, in a linguistic form made up of a subject and a verb. The grammatically appropriate expression of a command is an imperative, and that explains why our present problem is treated as one of the logic of imperatives. But in fact, commands can also appear in sentences which have the grammatical form of statements.

Keywords: linguistic expression; linguistic expression; norm positing; statements; command; logic of imperatives

Chapter.  3474 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.