To whom does the law speak? Canvassing a neglected picture of law’s interpretive field

Sandro, P ORCID: 2015, 'To whom does the law speak? Canvassing a neglected picture of law’s interpretive field' , in: Problems of Normativity, Rules and Rule-Following , Law and Philosophy Library (111) , Springer, pp. 265-280.

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Among the most common strategies underlying the so-called indeterminacy thesis is the following two-step argument: (1) that law is an interpretive practice, and that evidently legal actors more generally hold different (and competing) theories of meaning, which lead to disagreements as to what the law says (that is, as to what the law is); (2) and that, as there is no way to establish the prevalence of one particular theory of meaning over the other, indeterminacy is pervasive in law. In this paper I offer some reflections to resist this trend. In particular I claim that a proper understanding of law as an authoritative communicative enterprise sheds new light on the relation between the functioning of the law and our theories of interpretation, leading to what can be considered a neglected conclusion: the centrality of the linguistic criterion of meaning in our juridical interpretive practices. In the first part of the chapter I discuss speech-act theory in the study of law, assessing its relevance between alternative options. Then I tackle the ‘to whom does the law speak?’ question, highlighting the centrality of lay-people for our juridical practices. Lastly, I examine the consequences of this neglected fact for our interpretive theories.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Araszkiewicz, M, Banas, P, Gizbert-Studnicki, T and Pleszka, K
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Journal or Publication Title: Problems of Normativity, Rules and Rule-Following
Publisher: Springer
Series Name: Law and Philosophy Library
ISBN: 9783319093741 (print); 9783319093758 (online)
ISSN: 1572-4395
Related URLs:
Depositing User: P Sandro
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 14:54
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 01:18

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