Logical Relations Between Legal Norms

  • Dick W. P. Ruiter
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 18)


The logical relations between prescriptions are often presented in a square of opposition1:


Successful Performance Logical Relation Legal Norm Social Progress Illocutionary Force 
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  1. 1.
    H. Lenk, Normenlogik, Pullach, 1974, 198 ff.;Google Scholar
  2. 1a.
    R. Alexy, Theorie der Grundrechte, Frankfurt, 1986, 182–194;Google Scholar
  3. 1b.
    Soeteman (1989), 93. See for a comparison of the ‘semiotic square’ in structuralist semiotics as represented by A.J Greimas, the logical square, and this square of prescriptive oppositions: B.S. Jackson, Semiotics and Legal Theory, London, 1985, 74–110.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    This notation is inspired by M. Herberger and D. Simon, Wissenschaftstheoriestheorie für Juristen, Frankfurt, 1980,Google Scholar
  5. 2a.
    who in turn refer to F. von Kutschera, Einführung in die Logik der Normen, Freiburg and Munich, 1973.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Ross (1968), 143–158.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Searle and Vanderveken (1985), 4, The external negation of speech acts is equivalent to what they term ‘illocutionary denegation’:’It is essential to distinguish between acts of illocutionary denegation and illocutionary acts with a negative propositional content... We can say generally that an act of illocutionary denegation is one whose aim is to make it explicit that the speaker does not perform a certain illocutionary act.’ See for some laws of inference for illocutionary denegations, ibid, 152–155; see also Vanderveken I (1990), 24.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Cf. P. Amselek, ‘Philosophie du droit et théorie des actes de langage’, in: Amselek (1986), 118.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    Ross (1968), 144–148; Von Wright (1963), 147–152; Kelsen (1992), 211–225.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    On Ross’s criticism of von Wright’s failure to distinguish between incompatibilities based on external and internal negation, see Ross (1968), 172, with reference to von Wright (1963), 147–152.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Weinberger (1970) 207; H. Lenk (1974), 198 ff.; Kalinowski (1973), 68 ff.; Herberger and Simon (1980), 183 ff.; C. and O. Weinberger (1979), 104 ff.; Soeteman (1989), 95 ff.; Alexy (1986), 185.Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    In this figure the contradictory opposite of ‘indifference’, to wit, (norm)relevancy, is omitted. Relevancy is usually symbolized by the complex norm-operator R. R(As) is equivalent to O(As) ∨ O(~As). In this way, the original square is transformed into a hexagon. When, moreover, ‘supererogatory acts’ are taken into account, i.e. acts neither commanded nor prohibited but formally recommended or discouraged, it is possible to develop a deontological decagon. Cf. J. Hruska and J.C. Joerden, ‘Supererogation: vom deontologischen Sechseck zum deontologischen Zehneck’, Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, 78(1987) 93 ff. Alexy (1986), 185 also confines himself to a pentagon in which the norm-relevancy position is omitted.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    Cf. Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    Art. II, sec. 1, par 1., U.S. Constitution.Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    13th Amendment, Sec. 1, US Constitution.Google Scholar
  16. 13.
    Cf. Art.1, sec. 8, par. 2, s. 11, US Constitution.Google Scholar
  17. 14.
    Cf. Art.89, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dick W. P. Ruiter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Administration and Public PolicyUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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