Norms which are not the Meaning of Acts of Will? Mally's Theory

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI:
Norms which are not the Meaning of Acts of Will? Mally's Theory

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The failure to distinguish between a norm (an Ought) and a statement about the validity of a norm (of an Ought) leads to the view that norms, especially the norms of morality, are not the meaning of any act of will, but are norms without any norm-positing authority, and when they are commands or requirements, must be considered to be commands without any commander, requirements without any requirer. An important representative of this view is Ernst Mally (1926). True, he says that ‘the Ought, or more strictly the ought-to-be, of a state of affairs corresponds to a willing as its objective counterpart’. But he then rejects the view “A ought to be” means nothing other than that A is willed by someone’. That is correct because willing is an Is and so cannot be an Ought. But this is not Mally's reason for rejecting this reduction of ought to willing.

Keywords: Mally's theory; morality; norm positing; act of will; commands; ought-to-be

Chapter.  1051 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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