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Absoluter Positivismus und Normativer Monismus. Zur Idee einer Reinen Rechtslehre

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageGerman
Title of host publicationGedenkschrift für Robert Walter
Place of PublicationVienna
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-3-214-00453-8


King's Authors


The paper tries to outline the concept of an absolute positivism. If, for now, we identify positivism with the thesis that the validity and the content of the positive law cannot be derived from moral, theological or scientific premises, then positivism presents itself as a negative or relative position, i.e. as the rejection of certain normative relations of derivation. Positivism, understood in this way, first and foremost tells us what the law is not. We will call this kind of positivism ‘negative’, or ‘relative positivism’. However, the question is not only what the law is not. It is also, what the law is. Now, a provisional, a working definition, the contour, of absolute positivism emerges when we try to answer this positive question without abandoning our commitment to relative positivism. What would such an answer look like? Well, the only thing left to base the validity and content of the law on would be the law itself. A theory which tries to base the validity of the law on the law itself or, which is the same, on nothing, could be called positive, or absolute positivism. This paper tries to conceive of such an absolute positivism. In doing that it will be lead to radically reconsidering the possibility of our relation to the positive law as legal theorists and to a fundamental reassessment of the role philosophy can play in the understanding of the positive law.

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