Pure Theory of Law

The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
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Kelsen, Hans. Pure Theory of Law. Translation from the Second German Edition by Max Knight. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. x, 356 pp. Reprinted 2005 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 1-58477-578-5. Paperbound. $36.95 * Second revised and enlarged edition, a complete revision of the first edition published in 1934. A landmark in the development of modern jurisprudence, the pure theory of law defines law as a system of coercive norms created by the state that rests on the validity of a generally accepted Grundnorm, or basic norm, such as the supremacy of the Constitution. Entirely self-supporting, it rejects any concept derived from metaphysics, politics, ethics, sociology, or the natural sciences. Beginning with the medieval reception of Roman law, traditional jurisprudence has maintained a dual system of "subjective" law (the rights of a person) and "objective" law (the system of norms). Throughout history this dualism has been a useful tool for putting the law in the service of politics, especially by rulers or dominant political parties. The pure theory of law destroys this dualism by replacing it with a unitary system of objective positive law that is insulated from political manipulation. Possibly the most influential jurisprudent of the twentieth century, Hans Kelsen [1881-1973] was legal adviser to Austria's last emperor and its first republican government, the founder and permanent advisor of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Austria, and the author of Austria's Constitution, which was enacted in 1920, abolished during the Anschluss, and restored in 1945. The author of more than forty books on law and legal philosophy, he is best known for this work and General Theory of Law and State. Also active as a teacher in Europe and the United States, he was Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna and taught at the universities of Cologne and Prague, the Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Harvard, Wellesley, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Naval War College.Also available in cloth.
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Publisher
The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
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Published on
Dec 31, 1967
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Pages
356
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ISBN
9781584775782
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / International
Law / Jurisprudence
Philosophy / Political
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This content is DRM protected.
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Hans Kelsen
Arguably his most important work, Principles of International Law was published after Kelsen's retirement from the University of California at Berkeley in 1952. It is an important synthesis of Kelsen's earlier work on international law and jurisprudence. Any contribution by Professor Kelsen to international law is always welcome. This certainly applies to the book under review. It represents an attempt-which must be regarded as wholly successful-to apply to international law, in an introductory text-book not necessarily limited to specialists, many of Professor Kelsen's basic doctrines in the field of jurisprudence. In preparing this book the author has drawn on many of his previous writings on international law, but he has avoided the danger of putting before the reader a mere compilation of fragments. The very arrangement of the book is stimulating in its boldness and unorthodoxy. ( . . . ) [It is] a model of precision and clarity and . . . a stimulus to thought. If for no other reason, this Introduction to International Law is an outstanding and fully successful attempt-of which there are but few-to present the entirety of the international law of peace within the framework of a jurisprudential system. --Hersch Lauterpacht, British Yearbook of International Law 29 (1952) 509, 513 Possibly the most influential jurisprudent of the twentieth century, HANS KELSEN [1881-1973] was legal adviser to Austria's last emperor and its first republican government, the founder and permanent advisor of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Austria, and the author of Austria's Constitution, which was enacted in 1920, abolished during the Anschluss, and restored in 1945. He was the author of more than forty books on law and legal philosophy. Active as a teacher in Europe and the United States, he was Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna and taught at the universities of Cologne and Prague, the Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Harvard, Wellesley, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Naval War College.
Hans Kelsen
Widely regarded as the most important legal theorist of the twentieth century, Hans Kelsen is best known for his formulation of the "pure theory of law", - within which the study of international law was his special field of work. The present volume, "General Theory of Law and State", first published in 1945, allowed Kelsen to adjust his pure theory of law to American circumstances after World War II. It also afforded him the opportunity to present to English-speaking readers his latest ideas on the supremacy of international law. The volume is divided into two parts: the first devoted to law, the second to the state. Together these topics constitute the most systematic and comprehensive exposition of Kelsen's jurisprudence. The volume is not only a compendium of Kelsen's lifework up to that time; it is also an extension of his theories, "to embrace the problems and institutions of English and American law as well as those of the Civil Law countries". Indeed, references to Continental European law are minimal compared with examples, scattered throughout the text, taken from the U.S. Constitution and several American court cases. This is more than a concession to American readers; it signifies that Kelsen's legal theory is truly general in that it accounts for the Common Law as well as the Civil Law. A systematic treatise on jurisprudence, "General Theory of Law and State" is a substantial reformulation of Kelsen's ideas articulated in several of his previous books, written in German. The juridical principles put forth by the most important legal theorist of the twentieth century remain of great value. This volume will be read by legal scholars, political scientists, and intellectual historians.
Hans Kelsen
Widely regarded as the most important legal theorist of the twentieth century, Hans Kelsen is best known for his formulation of the "pure theory of law", - within which the study of international law was his special field of work. The present volume, "General Theory of Law and State", first published in 1945, allowed Kelsen to adjust his pure theory of law to American circumstances after World War II. It also afforded him the opportunity to present to English-speaking readers his latest ideas on the supremacy of international law. The volume is divided into two parts: the first devoted to law, the second to the state. Together these topics constitute the most systematic and comprehensive exposition of Kelsen's jurisprudence. The volume is not only a compendium of Kelsen's lifework up to that time; it is also an extension of his theories, "to embrace the problems and institutions of English and American law as well as those of the Civil Law countries". Indeed, references to Continental European law are minimal compared with examples, scattered throughout the text, taken from the U.S. Constitution and several American court cases. This is more than a concession to American readers; it signifies that Kelsen's legal theory is truly general in that it accounts for the Common Law as well as the Civil Law. A systematic treatise on jurisprudence, "General Theory of Law and State" is a substantial reformulation of Kelsen's ideas articulated in several of his previous books, written in German. The juridical principles put forth by the most important legal theorist of the twentieth century remain of great value. This volume will be read by legal scholars, political scientists, and intellectual historians.
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