Norms, Norms, and Norms: Validity, Existence and Referents of the Term Norm in Alexy, Conte, and Guastini

Alice Borghi, Guglielmo Feis


In this paper we examine the interplay between validity and existence of a norm. We compare Amedeo Giovanni Conte’s five-folded conception of norm with the “semantic” conception of Robert Alexy’s and Riccardo Guastini’s idea of existence-as-legal-membership. We show how Alexy’s model encompasses all the referents of Conte. We investigate the interplay between different theses on the relationships between validity and existence of norms and the referents for norm that a theory is able to admit. In particular, we show that if we want to encompass all five Contean referents we have to give up the (Kelsenian) validity-as-existence thesis.


ontology of norm; Amedeo Giovanni Conte; Robert Alexy; Riccardo Guastini; validity

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