A Journey to Italy. The Pure Theory of Law in the Peninsular Legal Culture

  • Pierluigi Chiassoni
Keywords: Pure Theory of Law, Italian Legal Culture, Norberto Bobbio, Giuseppe Capograssi, Riccardo Guastini


The paper purports to recount a few episodes in the reception of the pure theory of law in Italian legal culture. After an introductory section casting some light on the reception before WWII, the narration focusses on the reception of the pure theory after 1945, by three leading jurisprudents: Giuseppe Capograssi, who advocates the total rejection of a legal theory he considers absolutely obnoxious; Norberto Bobbio, who sets forth a radical critique targeting Kelsen’s (supposed) (neo)Kantianism, the basic norm, and the Kelsenian theory of legal science; Riccardo Guastini, who claims Kelsen failed in his long-pursued aim of establishing a sharp demarcation between law and legal science. The recount will go along, so far as possible, with some critique of criticisms.