The Semantic Framework

Nicos Stavropoulos

in Objectivity in Law

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198258995
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681899 | DOI:
The Semantic Framework

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This chapter discusses the framework within philosophy of language that is helpful in illuminating issues in the theory of legal interpretation. It argues that the application of concepts is sensitive to theory. This overall claim is supported by arguments in the philosophy of language. The chapter examines Saul Kripke's arguments on the semantics of names, Hilary Putnam's generalisation of the argument to the domain of natural kinds, Tyler Burge's generalisation of the argument to cases of virtually any common noun, the arguments of John McDowell and Donald Davidson against the possibility of deriving content from intrinsic mental materials, the possibility of distinguishing between ascription of wrong beliefs about the same concept and ascription of a different concept, legal concepts analogous to the account of natural kinds, and a possible objection to the effect that conceiving legal questions as questions of classification of events or states of affairs, under legal concepts, distorts the nature of legal reasoning.

Keywords: Saul Kripke; legal interpretation; names; natural kinds; Hilary Putnam; Tyler Burge; theory; legal reasoning

Chapter.  19851 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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