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Kelsenian legal science and positive law

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Publication date18/05/2017
Host publicationKelsenian legal science and the nature of law
EditorsP Langford, I Bryan, J McGarry
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (print)9783319518176
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameLaw and Philosophy Library
ISSN (Print)1572-4395


This contribution offers a preliminary critical examination of Kelsenian legal science, understood as a distinctive theoretical and methodological project for the comprehension of positive law. The authors contend that Kelsen sought, in his initial elaboration of a legal science of public law, as a juridical theory of the state (Staatsrechtslehre), to controvert prevailing conceptions of legal science. The authors further argue that Kelsen’s subsequent articulation and refinement of a legal science of positive law structured Kelsen’s various critiques of natural law theories, his opposition to the intrusion of ethico-political value judgments in the cognition of positive law, his constitutionalism, his theories of democracy and his conception of the relationship between domestic law and international law. Preparative to an extended and extensive examination, this critical discussion contemplates the contemporary relevance of Kelsenian legal science.