‘Philosophy of Language and Legal Interpretation’

Brian G Slocum, Pragmatics and Legal Texts: How Best to Account for the Gaps between Literal Meaning and Communicative Meaning, in The Pragmatic Turn in Law: Inference and Interpretation in Legal Discourse (Mouton Series of Pragmatics, forthcoming 2017), available at SSRN. Law is pervasively interested in the proper understanding and application of texts: contracts, wills, trusts, agency regulations, statutes, constitutional provisions, etc. Legal interpretation is obviously central to legal practice, and it is not surprising that legal scholars would come to look to literary interpretation and philosophy of language for insight. The discussion of literary interpretation, and what lawyers, legal scholars, and judges might learn from it, has been one of the themes of the Law and Literature movement. The recourse to philosophy of language has been slower and less well publicized; however, there is now a growing literature applying philosophy of language to problems in law (eg, Alessandro Capone and Francesca Poggi (eds), Pragmatics and Law (Springer, 2016); Andrei Marmor and Scott Soames (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Language in the Law (Oxford, 2011)) … (more)

[Brian Bix, JOTWELL, 29 May]

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