La máquina del derecho y sus engranajes. Karl Olivecrona sobre derecho, autoridad, y normas jurídicas como imperativos independientes

Analisi E Diritto 21 (2):145-177 (2021)
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In this paper, I propose to draw attention to a specific version of non-voluntaristic imperativism, its corresponding conception of legal norm, and the framework in which it is inserted: that advocated by Scandinavian realist Karl Olivecrona. In order to carry out this analysis, I will first contextualise Olivecrona’s position and his rejection of voluntarism; briefly reconstruct his position in relation to law and legal authority; and introduce the way in which authority and legal norms are articulated as cogs in the machine of law (section 2). I will then analyse in depth Olivecrona’s conception of the legal norm as an independent imperative with a suggestive character, focusing on his rejection of the norm as a mandate and the elements of this type of legal imperative (section 3). Finally, I will focus on this particular conception of norms as independent imperatives and address some problems it raises, including the problem of their identification, the obscurity of the claim that these imperatives “guide behaviour”, and the appropriateness of the category of ‘suggestive character’ (section 4). I conclude the analysis with some brief reflections on the possible usefulness of the category of independent imperatives for at least two relevant and current topics in the philosophy of law (section 5).

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Julieta A. Rabanos
Università degli Studi di Genova


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