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Norms that Confer Competence

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The author maintains that norms that confer competence (or power) on persons should be understood as duty–imposing norms addressed to legal officials, rather than as special competence norms whose sole function is to confer competence, and which are addressed to the competence–holders themselves. The argument is that only duty–imposing norms are genuine norms in the sense that they give complete reasons for action. En route to this conclusion the author analyzes norms in terms of reasons for action, and considers the problem of norm–individuation and the action–guiding capacity of norms.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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