Methodological Clarity or the Substantial Purity of Law? Notes on the Discussion between Kelsen and Pitamic


  • This article is an English summary of the plenary paper Methodologische Klarheit oder gegenständliche Reinheit des Rechts. Anmerkungen zur Diskussion Kelsen-Pitamic presented at the 25th Congress of the IVR, which was held in Frankfurt am Main in August 2011.


Leonid Pitamic was convinced that law could not be understood and explored by a single method aiming at a pure object of enquiry. He argued that it was necessary to employ other methods besides the normative one (especially the sociological and axiological methods), which, however, should not be confounded. Methodological syncretism can be avoided by clearly distinguishing between different aspects of law and by allowing the methods to support each other. By following this guideline, and by arguing according to a clear method, we can also open up a space for dialogue and for the juxtaposition of contrasting points of view.