Call for Papers – IVR German Section’s 2018: ‘Hans Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law: Conceptions and Misconceptions’

The German Section of the International Association for the Philosophy of Law and Social Phi-losophy, in collaboration with the Faculty of Law of the University of Freiburg, will hold its 2018 biennial conference in Freiburg on 27-29 September 2018.

Up to 24 contributions to six panels will be selected by means of a call for papers.

Conference Theme

Hans Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law provides a particular approach to law and normativity. It of-fers a grammar and a vocabulary that helps us identify some legal concepts and problems as essential and to dismiss others as alien to the main tasks of legal scholarship. Far more funda-mentally, it also is and claims a theory of what legal scholarship is, can or should be. This ap-proach to what it means to engage in scholarship is often implicit and seldom discussed in litera-ture – this lack of sustained attention means that it is also one of the more problematic parts of the Pure Theory inviting critique and dissent.
The Pure Theory of Law has not lost its potential to spark interest and controversy in the more than one hundred years since Kelsen first expounded it. However, it also still generates, as it always has, a fair amount of perplexity but also of misinterpretation. The international schol-arly community has long discussed and continues to discuss some writings and some notions, yet large tracts of his work and many strands of argument are relatively unknown. In addition, while Kelsen’s own writings are frequently read and discussed, this is not the case for other members of the Vienna School of Jurisprudence. The conference wants to broaden the debate on the Pure Theory between legal cultures by also including some of its lesser discussed aspects.
The conference thus attempts to bridge legal-cultural, linguistic and professional divides and will explore the relevance of the Pure Theory’s arguments today. It will go beyond the exegesis of Kelsen’s oeuvre and aims at open conversations about the merits and flaws of the Pure Theory of Law in confrontation and communication with fundamentally diverging views. Which of its conceptions are still helpful today, which of its misconceptions – or misconceptions about it – are to be avoided?

Abstract submissions should be sent to by 20 October 2017, together with the applicant’s contact details, a short curriculum vitae and an indication whether they intend to present the paper in English or German.

Questions regarding this call for papers may be directed to the same address.