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Abstract

At the bottom level of the hierarchical structure (Stufenbau) of the legal system, the transition from “ought” to “is” has not been given its due. I argue that an additional level, that of fully concretized norms, belongs in the hierarchy. This sheds light on precisely where and how the transition from “ought” to “is” takes place. Whereas the fully concretized norm marks the bottom level in the hierarchy of norms, the coercive act or sanction qua fact is not found in the hierarchy, contrary to what Adolf Julius Merkl and Hans Kelsen would have us believe.