Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Democracy Kelsen Brocker I 132
Democracy/Kelsen: For Kelsen, modern democracy can only be realized as parliamentary democracy.(1) But Kelsen's position for parliamentarism is not a dogmatic position either; it is the observation of a civilizing process of increasing division of labor and social differentiation.(2) This functional theory of the parlamentary system explicitly opposes Kelsen's "fiction of representation".(3) >Parlamentary System/Kelsen.
Brocker I 132/133
Kelsen sees the competition between democracy and autocracy as central. Democracy itself strives for "leadershiplessness".(4) Kelsen explains the existence of democratic ideology predominantly in social psychology. He describes popular sovereignty as a "totem"(5), a mask that the norm-subjected people put on in order to at least in rituals stand out from the actors actually exercising power and to exalt themselves. Kelsen, on the other hand, like Weber, regards domination as necessary, which is why one only has to ask oneself the question how it is to be structured. In Kelsen's eyes, democracy necessarily goes hand in hand with a certain world view, which assumes an unrecognizable absolute truth and absolute values and therefore also considers the "foreign, contrary opinion at least possible"(6). Only this allows democracy to be open to changing majorities and makes the minority position bearable.
Brocker I 135
KelsenVsSchmitt/KelsenVsSmend/Llanque: Kelsen is mainly seen as the author who can clearly be counted among the supporters of parliamentary democracy among the majority of democracy-critical state teachers of the Weimar Republic (Groh 2010)(7). He has published sharp criticisms of opponents in this debate, including Rudolf Smend and Carl Schmitt. Some also consider Kelsen to be the clearest opponent of Schmitt (Diner/Stolleis 1999(8); Dreier 1999(9)).
Brocker I 139
SchmittVsKelsen/HellerVsKelsen: Kelsen was accused of emptying democracy of content and degrading it to a procedural concept (Boldt 1986(10); Saage 2005(11)).

1. Hans Kelsen, »Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie«, in: Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik 47, 1920/1921, 50-85 (Separatdruck: Tübingen 1920). Erweiterte Fassung: Hans Kelsen, Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie, Tübingen 1929 (seitenidentischer Nachdruck:Aalen 1981), S. 25
2. Ebenda S. 29
3. Ebenda S. 30
4. Ebenda S. 79
5. Ebenda S. 86
6. Ebenda S. 101
7. Kathrin Groh, Demokratische Staatsrechtslehrer in der Weimarer Republik. Von der konstitutionellen Staatslehre zur Theorie des modernen demokratischen Verfassungsstaates, Tübingen 2010 8. Dan Diner & Michael (Hg.) Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt. A Juxtaposition, Gerlingen 1999
9. Horst Dreier »The Essence of Democracy: Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt Juxtaposed«, in: Dan Diner/Michael Stolleis (Hg.), Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt. A Juxtaposition, Gerlingen 1999, 71-79
10. Hans Boldt, »Demokratietheorie zwischen Rousseau und Schumpeter. Bemerkungen zu Hans Kelsens ›Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie‹«, in: Max Kaase (Hg.), Politische Wissenschaft und politische Ordnung. Analysen zur Theorie und Empirie demokratischer Regierungsweise, Festschrift für Rudolf Wildenmann, Opladen 1986, 217-232.
11. Richard Saage, Demokratietheorien: Historischer Prozess, Theoretische Entwicklung, Soziotechnische Bedingungen. Eine Einführung, Wiesbaden 2005.

Marcus Llanque, „Hans Kelsen, Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie“, in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018
Human Rights Kelsen Brocker I 139
Human rights/Kelsen: Kelsen's rejection of absolutist worldviews also includes the rejection of the assumption that human rights can be regarded as pre-political norms that must be recognised by politics but are not produced by it. >Natural Justice/Kelsen, >Democratic theory/Kelsen, >Democracy/Kelsen. VsKelsen: Interpreters who see Kelsen as a liberal follow him gladly in the rejection of dictatorship, but have trouble with his criticism of fundamental and human rights.

Marcus Llanque, „Hans Kelsen, Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie“, in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018
State (Polity) Bobbio Gaus I 406
State/Democrcy/Bobbio/Bellamy/Jennings/Lassman: With post-war Italian politics dominated by the two 'religions' represented by the Catholic Christian Democrats (DC) and the Gramsci- inspired Italian Communist Party, political theorists continued to address the tensions between the two Romes, particularly the difficulties of reconciling the pragmatic concessions of politics with a broader cultural and moral aspiration for social unity. Unsurprisingly, dissenters on both sides typically accused their parties of sacrificing the latter to the former. Significantly, the main political thinker to emerge in this period, Norberto Bobbio (1909-[2004]), though aligned to neither camp as a member of the 'lay' Italian Socialist Party (PSI), led a return to the neo-Machiavellian tradition of Pareto and Mosca (Bobbio, 1977)(1). Bobbio started out as a legal theorist, and his earliest writings were inspired by the legal positivist
tradition of Hans Kelsen - a distinctive position in the Italian context that proved highly influential.
Bobbio shared Kelsen's deep commitment to the liberal ideal of the Rechtsstaat, sharply criticizing
the right and especially the Marxist left for overlooking the importance of the rule of law for the
defence of individual liberty. >Freedom/Kelsen.
Law/BobbioVsKelsen: However, he had a more realist view of the nature of law than Kelsen, regarding it as institutionalized power. This approach led him to a series of path-breaking studies of Hobbes and ultimately to political theory. In 1972 he exchanged his chair in law at Turin University for one in the newly created politics faculty. He now embarked on a series of essays exploring the nature of the state and democracy. These pieces were often motivated by his own engagement with the peace movement (Bobbio, 1979)(2) on the one hand, and his critique of the radical new left (Bobbio, 1987a)(3) on the other.
Cosmopolitanism: Deeply opposed to nuclear weapons, he became a pioneering advocate of some form of cosmopolitan democracy as the only plausible way to institutionalize international law. Yet he remained deeply sceptical of radical schemes for participatory democracy at any level.
Democracy: Returning to Pareto and especially Mosca, Bobbio (1987b)(4) defined democracy as simply a means for formalizing the rules whereby elites compete for and exercise power. Though modest by comparison with the hopes of radical democrats, it offers the only available mechanism whereby 'force' can be limited by "consent'.

1. Bobbio, N. (1977) Saggi sulla scienza politica in Italia. Bari: Laterza.
2. Bobbio, N. (1979) Il problema della guerra e le vie della pace. Bologna: Il Mulino.
3. Bobbio, N. (1987a) Which Socialism? Marxism, Socialism
and Democracy, ed. Richard Bellamy. Cambridge: Polity (first Italian edn 1976).
4. Bobbio, N. (1987b): The Future of Democracy. A Defence of the Rules of Game. Minneapolis

Bellamy, Richard, Jennings, Jeremy and Lassman, Peter 2004. „Political Thought in Continental Europe during the Twentieth Century“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004