Law and Philosophy

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 223–246 | Cite as

Authority and Representation

  • Hans Lindahl


The act of `setting the law' enjoysa central position in Kelsen's theory of authority.His analysis of this act criticizes, amongst others,the assumption of natural-law doctrines that norms areobjective when they duplicate a content given directlyto cognition and independently of the act whereby thenorm is enacted. Correctly, Kelsen attacks the conceptof representation underlying this assumption as anexample of metaphysical dualism and a copy theory ofknowledge. Does, then, an alternative understanding ofauthority require scrapping representation from atheory of positive law? Or does it requireinterpreting representation differently? Following thesecond path, this paper reconstructs the act ofsetting the law in terms of the critical concept ofrepresentation developed by Ernst Cassirer andsuggests how, thus reconstructed, the structure ofthis act can account for the law's authority and itscontingency.


Social Issue Central Position Critical Concept Alternative Understanding Structure Ofthis 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Lindahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyTilburg UniversityLE TilburgThe Netherlands

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