Professor Kelsen’s Amazing Reappearing Act

Robert Schuett


Hans Kelsen (1881-1973) ranks as one of the most important legal philosophers and liberal political theorists of the twentieth century. With his Pure Theory of Law, he set out to liberate legal and political discourse from anti-democratic baggage. So significant was Kelsen’s intellectual influence that Hans J. Morgenthau once praised him thus: “To Hans Kelsen, who has taught us through his example how to speak Truth to Power.” Bringing together a diverse group of thinkers whose works cross disciplinary boundaries, this special issue, “Kelsen, Politics, and Realism”, asks whether Kelsen’s thought is still relevant to our times. It is argued that Kelsen can help us think about government and international affairs in a moment when democracy and peace are threatened.


Democracy, Kelsen, liberalism, politics, realism


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