Brian Bix claims that the explanation of legal normativity does not require reference to any robust normative facts. I seek to vindicate his claim by engaging in a more fine-grained discussion of the explanation of legal facts as found in the work of Hans Kelsen, one of the authors discussed in Bix’s paper. The argument starts with a reconstruction of Kelsen’s account in a more contemporary philosophical vocabulary. Then, I draw a comparison with the well-known attempt, developed in Saul Kripke’s reading of Wittgenstein, to explain the normativity of meaning. Against the backdrop of the comparison, I diagnose a challenge arising for both meaning and law, which takes the form of an explanatory gap argument. Kelsen’s notion of imputation is proposed as an answer to the challenge, which is capable of bridging the relevant gap. Finally, I address some shortcomings Bix identifies as potential threats for Kelsen’s weak explanation of normativity.
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