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Hans Kelsen’s God and the State: The Theory of Positive Law as methodological Anarchism

by Peter Langford

pp. 149-168 Issue 2 (1,2) – July-December 2014 ISSN (online): 2539/2239 ISSN (print): 2389-8232


This article situates Hans Kelsen’s essay, God and the State, against the horizon of Bakunin’s God and the State. This enables Kelsen’s methodology to be revealed as a circumscription of Feuerbach’s Left Hegelianism and its further radicalization in Bakunin. Kelsen’s separation of law from any foundation other than in law itself prefigures the question of the relationship between law and life in contemporary Italian theoretical work on the notion of biopolitics. In place of a simple reversal of Kelsen’s methodological procedure, the question should centre upon distinguishing law from life without repeating the opposition between the materiality of life and the abstraction of law prefigured in Kelsen’s text.


Kelsen, State, Anarchism, Bakunin, God
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