The purpose of this article is to clarify Petrażycki’s distinction between on the one hand the general (psycho-sociological) theory of law and descriptive legal science and, on the other, legal dogmatics. The author first discusses some general statements of Petrażycki’s with regard to the purpose of legal dogmatics, then examines Petrażycki’s discussion of the concept of ‘statute’ for the general (psycho-sociological) theory of law, on one hand, and for the (general theory of) legal dogmatics on the other. The bet220 ter to highlight Petrażycki’s theoretical tenets, Fittipaldi compares Petrażycki’s concept of ‘statute’ with Kelsen’s, thus showing that Petrażycki’s distinction between descriptive legal science and legal dogmatics has remarkable theoretical advantages compared to Kelsen’s distinction between sociology of law and normative jurisprudence. He also shows, however, that Petrażycki’s approach needs to be completed with Kelsen’s concept of ‘Grundnorm’. According to Fittipaldi, the general (psycho-sociological) theory of law and legal dogmatics both need their own concept of ‘Grundnorm’.
Keywords: Petrażycki, Legal dogmatics, Principle of legality, Psycho-sociological concept of ‘statute’, Grundnorm