A reply to Kelsen's critique of Aristotle's concept of justice


Kelsen wrote a book, much less known than his Reine Rechtslehre (Pure Theory of Law), called Was ist Gerechtigkeit (What is Justice), in which he attempts to show how and why several theories of justice, formulated by authors ranging from Greece to European Illuminism, are wrong. One of those concepts is Aristotle’s, as exposed in his Nichomachean Ethics. In this article, I argue that in order to show Aristotle wrong, Kelsen misinterprets his theory, then ignores the practical consequences it implies. I attempt to demonstrate that, although highly influenced by the (retrograde) mores of his time, Aristotle’s theory can be useful to us today, which Kelsen denies. Finally, I present a challenge regarding one point raised by Kelsen which is particularly hard to reply.

Palabras clave:

Justice, Ethics, Critique, Actuality, Theory of Justice


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Biografía del autor/a

, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Lawyer and researcher who holds a master's degree in the Department of Philosophy and General Theory of Law at the Faculty of Law of the Universidade de São Paulo, of which he graduated in Law (2015), with a semester at the Freie Universität Berlin (2013 / 14). He has worked as a federal state prosecutor since January 2015, and currently assists the Attorney General in representing the Federal Union before the Supreme Court of Brazil. His main fields of interest are political philosophy, the theory of justice, the philosophy of law, the philosophy of taxation, the law of successions, human rights and the supreme courts. He has published book chapters such as (2017) Sistema y Tópica en la Aplicação da Boa-Fé Objetiva. In A. A. Rodrigues, A. C. Prado, E. C. de Antonio Faria (Org.), Lições de Direito Público (pp. 1-190). Pará de Minas: VirtualBooks Editora, and (2017) Considerações Históricas acerca de Boa-Fé para Direito Público. In D. Soares França, G. Pereira Barbosa, L. R. Freitas de Souza (Orgs.), Contribuições Contemporâneas ao Debate Publicista (pp. 1-185). Pará de Minas: VirtualBooks Editor.


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