Statements about a Norm and Quoting a Norm

Hans Kelsen

in General Theory of Norms

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198252177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681363 | DOI:
Statements about a Norm and Quoting a Norm

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There is a possible objection to the claim that a norm has a prescriptive signification while a statement about a norm formulated in a sollen-sentence has a descriptive signification, and consequently that ‘sollen’ is ambiguous: it is that the sentence which is a statement about a norm is a sentence which quotes the norm, and so this sentence must have a prescriptive signification since the quoted norm itself has a prescriptive signification. But that is incorrect. The sentence which serves to make a statement about a norm can, but need not, quote the norm. The quoted norm does have a prescriptive signification, but the sentence in which it is quoted has a descriptive signification.

Keywords: sollen-sentenc; prescriptive signification; descriptive signification; quoted norm; ethics; legal norm

Chapter.  940 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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