Law, Language and Legal Determinacy

Overview


This book discusses one of the central problems in the philosophy of law--the question of legal determinacy. Is the law a seamless web or are there gaps? Bix argues that the major re-thinking of the common and "common sense" views about law that have been proposed by various recent legal theories is unnecessary. He offers a reconsideration of the role of language in the law, and the way ideas about language have been used and misused in recent legal theory. He explores in depth the relationship to legal theory ...
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Overview


This book discusses one of the central problems in the philosophy of law--the question of legal determinacy. Is the law a seamless web or are there gaps? Bix argues that the major re-thinking of the common and "common sense" views about law that have been proposed by various recent legal theories is unnecessary. He offers a reconsideration of the role of language in the law, and the way ideas about language have been used and misused in recent legal theory. He explores in depth the relationship to legal theory of Hart's influential idea of "open texture," Dworkin's interpretative approach to law, and Wittgenstein's philosophy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Law, Language and Legal Determinacy makes an extremely important contribution to contemporary analytic jurisprudence.....The entire book is pervaded by a sophistication in the philosophy of language, and a sophistication in the bringing the philosophy of language to bear on important legal and jurisprudential questions, that is totally unmatched in the existing literature....Thinking about language seriously has been a large part of thinking about law and interpretation for some time, but Bix takes that thinking to a wholly new level."--Frederick Schauer, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"The book makes an original and significant contribution to the general field of philosophy of law, and specifically to analytical jurisprudence....His book is to my mind a rare accomplishment: it is extremely valuable...."--Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School


"The best and most accessible analysis available of Hart's views on the 'open texture' of language...an excellent and penetrating analysis of Dworkin's legal theory...Each of these chapters is a sophisticated piece of work from which I have learnt a good deal. Remarkably, however, they are written in a style which is lucid and easily accessible to beginners. I have used Bix's book in my teaching quite successfully, and have found that newcomers to the subject find his style clear and informative....It is an important and thought-provoking piece of work, which shows substantial achievement."--Nigel Simmonds, Cambridge University

"Bix's book is carefully argued, analytically deft and subtle, well informed, and philosophically sophisticated. Even when one disagrees with some of the contentions for which Bix argues, one is led to think more searchingly about the matters that he discusses....Interesting insights crop up throughout Bix's volume....Highly intelligent and adeptly argued throughout....perceptive and thought-provoking....May his impressive book receive the wide attention that it deserves."--Matthew Kramer, Cambridge University


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198260509
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 232
  • Lexile: 1670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Language and Law 1
Interpretation in Context 2
Language and Context 4
An Overview 6
1 H. L. A. Hart and the 'Open Texture' of Language
Hart's Discussion of 'Open Texture' 7
Waismann's Discussion of 'Open Texture' 10
Waismann and Wittgenstein 14
Hart on 'Open Texture' - Revisited 17
'Open Texture' and Judicial Discretion 18
Hart on 'Open Texture' - In Conclusion 22
'Gaps', 'Extra-Legal Sources', and Discretion 25
An Overview of the Critics 28
2 The Application (And Mis-Application) of Wittgenstein's Rule-Following Considerations to Legal Theory
The Rule-Following Considerations - A Summary 38
Disagreement and 'Forms of Life' 41
Over-Readings of Wittgenstein I: Langille 45
Over-Readings of Wittgenstein II: Patterson 50
Hard Cases and 'Contested Concepts' 53
Concepts and Conceptions 59
3 Clear Cases
The Idea of Easy Cases 63
Language and Discourse 71
Language and Dialect 73
4 Ronald Dworkin's Right Answer Thesis
The Concept of 'Right Answers' 78
The Scope of a Right Answer Thesis 88
Incommensurability 96
Interpretation and Disagreement 106
Interpretation and Consensus 111
Different Perspectives in Law 118
The Role of 'Purpose' 120
Intention and Interpretation 129
5 Michael Moore's Metaphysical Realism
Metaphysical Realism 134
Summary of Moore's Position 137
The Problem About 'Death' 140
Changing Beliefs and Changed Concepts 146
Wittgenstein's Critique of Metaphysical Realism 148
Moore's Project: A Second Look 151
Two Additional Criticisms 154
Summary of Brink's Position 157
Criticism of Brink 160
The Kripke-Putnam Theory of Reference 162
A Further Look at Natural Kinds 168
Alternatives to Natural-Kinds Analysis 171
Response to Moore 174
6 A Summing-Up
Threads in the Rope 178
On Intention in Law 183
The Meaning of 'Law' 190
The Status of the Claims and the Temptation of Relativism 195
Bibliography 199
Index 217
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