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Probleme der Stufenbaulehre

Das Scheitern des Ableitungsgedankens und die Aussichten der Reinen Rechtslehre

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The Stufenbaulehre (SL) is a central and founding element of the Pure Theory of Law (PTL). Most of the criticism on SL targets the idea of the basic norm (Grundnorm), however unjustified. This criticism stems from a misunderstanding of the presumptive character of the basic norm and of the whole legal order. Others have criticised the relativisation of the difference between individual and general norms, Kelsen's monism, and the determination of the validity of a norm by a single other norm. This can be refuted as well – either because their critique does not concern an essential part of SL (monism), or because SL can be saved by making a small modification to it. However, there is one lethal criticism. It concerns the founding thought of the whole SL, i.e. the derivation of validity. In a law-making process, there is never a derivation of validity: the logical result of a law-making process is only a norm saying ,,The new norm ought to be valid.“ Whether the new norm is in fact valid, is a question of efficacy in the realm of the Ought (sollen). This has serious consequences: Without this derivation SL can not survive, and without SL, PTL can not survive either. Some valuable parts of PTL might be used in other legal theories, but these are nothing but transplanted organs from the dead body of PTL whose heart – SL – can no longer keep the body alive.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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  • Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, edited by authorisation of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR), is an international, peer-reviewed journal, first published in 1907. It features original articles on philosophical research on legal and social questions, covering all aspects of social and legal life.
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