Prof. dr Stanley L. Paulson
English abstract: Much in recent discussions on legal positivism suggests that the controversy surrounding the notion turns on the distinction between inclusive and exclusive legal positivism. As a point of departure in distinguishing them, the separation principle is helpful. The separation principle counts as the contradictory of the morality principle, according to which there is “necessary overlap” between the law and morality. What the legal positivist’s denial of the morality principle comes to can be refined, we are told, by appealing to the distinction between inclusive and exclusive legal positivism. One can acquire a broader perspective by opening up the field in order to cover not only inclusive and exclusive legal positivism but also non-positivism, represented by the defence of the morality principle, that is the view that there is necessary overlap between the law and morality. Say what you will about inclusive versus exclusive legal positivism – some defend the distinction, others dismiss inclusive legal positivism as a non-starter. In any case, I want to argue that a far more fundamental distinction within the positivist camp lies elsewhere. The distinction I have in mind is that between legal positivism qua naturalism (J. Austin) and legal positivism without naturalism (H. Kelsen). For reasons institutional in nature, legal positivism has largely been discussed in a vacuum, there is a standing presumption to the effect that there are ties between legal positivism and ‘positivism writ large’ in the greater philosophical tradition – or, as it would be put in present-day philosophical circles, ties between legal positivism and naturalism.
Keywords: legal positivism, Hans Kelsen, The Separation Thesis, naturalism, normativism
Translated by: Marcin Romanowicz
Published: Number 2(15)/2012, pp. 20-35.
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