Chapter

The Verifiability of the Truth of a Statement—The Non-verifiability of the Validity of a Norm

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198252177.003.0046
The Verifiability of the Truth of a Statement—The Non-verifiability of the Validity of a Norm

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An important difference between the truth of a statement and the validity of a norm is that the truth of a statement is verifiable — i.e. it must be possible to prove it to be true or false — while the validity of a norm is not. The validity of a norm is not verifiable because it is its specific existence and can no more be true or false than the existence of a fact. Only the truth of a statement about the existence of a fact is verifiable, since verifying means ascertaining the truth. The only thing which remains open to question is whether the statement about the validity of a norm is verifiable. And this question must be answered in the affirmative, since this statement, like any other statement, can be true or false, and so must be verifiable.

Keywords: norm validity; verifiability of statement; truth of a statement; morality; derogation; behaviour

Chapter.  1163 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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