Kelsen, Hans

(redirected from Hans Kelsen)
Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Kelsen, Hans

Hans Kelsen was a European legal philosopher and teacher who emigrated to the United States in 1940 after leaving Nazi Germany. Kelsen is most famous for his studies on law and especially for his idea known as the pure theory of the law. Kelsen was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on October 11, 1881. He studied at several universities, including Berlin, Heidelberg, and Vienna. He received a doctor of laws degree from Vienna in 1906 and began teaching at the school in 1911. He taught public law and Jurisprudence at Vienna until 1930, when he moved to Germany to teach at the University of Cologne. There he taught International Law and jurisprudence and served as dean for two years.

With the rise of the Nazi government, he left Germany and emigrated to Switzerland in 1933. He taught at the Graduate Institute of International Studies of the University of Geneva until 1940. He accepted a position as lecturer at the Harvard University Law School the same year, and relocated to the United States. Later in 1940 he accepted a teaching position at the University of California at Berkeley. He remained at Berkeley until his retirement in 1952.

Kelsen's pure theory of the law is fairly abstract. Its objective is knowledge of that which is essential to law; therefore, the theory does not deal with that which is changing and accidental, such as ideals of justice. Kelsen believed that law is a science that deals not with the actual events of the world (what is) but with norms (what ought to be). The legal relation contains the threat of a sanction from an authority in response to a certain act. The legal norm is a relation of condition and consequence: if a certain act is done, a certain consequence ought to follow.

In this theory a legal system is made of a hierarchy of norms. Each norm is derived from its superior norm. The ultimate norm from which every legal norm deduces its validity is the Grundnorm, the highest basic norm. The Grundnorm is not deduced from anything else but is assumed as an initial hypothesis. A norm is a valid legal norm only because it has been created according to a definite rule.

The theory is independent of morality. It does not matter which particular Grundnorm is adopted by a legal order. All that matters is that this basic norm has a minimum effectiveness: it must command a certain amount of obedience, since the effectiveness of the total legal order is necessary for the validity of its norms.

Kelsen received acclaim for authoring many publications, including General Theory of Law and State (1945), The Law of the United Nations (1950–51), Principles of International Law (1952), and What Is Justice? (1957).

He died April 20, 1973, in Berkeley, California.

References in periodicals archive ?
A sua maneira, Hart e Ross trabalham com uma perspectiva de Direito mais empirica do que a do positivismo de Hans Kelsen.
Finalmente, en la seccion Lecturas, se encuentra la resena del libro La legitimidad del Derecho y del Estado en el pensamiento juridico de Weimar: Hans Kelsen, Carl Schmitt y Hermann Heller de Leticia Vita, hecha por Maria Emilia Barreyro, en la que senala el aporte del texto para situarse en las discusiones sobre teoria politica y juridica en el siglo XX, particularmente en lo que refiere a la legitimidad de las democracias representativas, y contribuye a repensar la actualidad juridica y politica de la academia hispana.
Ross adds (25) that the theories of prominent legal positivists, such as John Austin, Karl Bergbohm, Hans Kelsen, and John Chipman Gray, are all guilty of this type of circular reasoning.
La naturaleza, sentido y alcances de la justicia han sido temas abordados por muy distintos pensadores y filosofos como Platon, Immanuel Kant, Hans Kelsen y Jurgen Habermas.
Other chapters consider the philosophies of Immanuel Kant and Hans Kelsen in terms of corporate social responsibility; modern myths of the hero in the context of managerial behavior; and game theory, business behavior, and ethics.
Incluso, historicamente los partidos politicos pasaron por varios modelos que han hecho que la representacion de los intereses ciudadanos sea imperfecta o una "ficcion", como senala Hans Kelsen (2005).
La lectura de SCHMITT, sin embargo, provoca no pocos equivocos, usualmente derivados de subestimar--o ignorar completamente--su relacion con el debate iusteorico entre el autor y HANS KELSEN.
Pero Bolanos da cuenta de los multiples problemas por los cuales luego atravesaria Hans Kelsen para definir su posicion sobre la relacion entre logica y derecho.
With the exception of Hans Kelsen, one might be hard pressed to name a prominent 20th century legal philosophy who wrote primarily in a language other than English.
Alfred Schatz (1899-1959) and Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) were students of the Austrian legal theorist Hans Kelsen.
The figure and personage of Hans Kelsen evokes even today, more than 40 years after his death, the Reine Rechtslehre, the separation of law from history, philosophy, and politics -initiated, in terms of methodology, with Hauptprobleme der Staatsrechtslehre- the critique on the sociology of law, the State as a pure normative legal order, and Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit, i.