A Summing-Up

Brian Bix

in Law, Language, and Legal Determinacy

Published in print November 1995 | ISBN: 9780198260509
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682100 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

A Summing-Up

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  • Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


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The book has three overlapping themes: the role of language in law, Wittgenstein's philosophy on language, and the problems of legal determinacy. A theory about language and communication is likely to consider various elements: the ideas the speaker meant to convey, how words are conventionally understood, how context affects intention, meaning, or understanding, and the role of dialects and idiolects. The suggestion for better language theory has probably been, for the most part, misleading in the claim that it resolves disputes in the context of a legal system. The second theme to be emphasized is the importance of understanding the rule-following considerations. Wittgenstein made it explicit that philosophy does not function to change the actual use of the language but rather merely describes it. With this view it can be implied that the rule-following consideration's function does not solve difficult interpretive questions in law.

Keywords: language; Wittgenstein; legal determinacy; communication; legal system; rule-following

Chapter.  7997 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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