Chapter

Vagueness and Interpretation

TIMOTHY A. O. ENDICOTT

in Vagueness in Law

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198268406
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191714795 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268406.003.0008
Vagueness and Interpretation

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The indeterminacy claim faces a potential objection from Ronald Dworkin’s interpretivist theory of law. The interpretivist objection to the indeterminacy claim is that the law has resources that eliminate indeterminacies in the application of the words with which legal standards are formulated. This chapter defends the indeterminacy claim, first by addressing Dworkin’s views about the interpretive resources of the law, and then by presenting a simple account of the nature of interpretation that is opposed to Andrei Marmor’s theory of the role of interpretation in law. Whether interpretive considerations are part of the law or not, there is no reason to think that they tend to eliminate indeterminacy. The appeal of the notion that interpretation is a way of reducing or eliminating indeterminacies can be explained as a facet of the general legal technique of juridical bivalence: that notion is attractive in the same way that the standard view of adjudication is attractive.

Keywords: Ronald Dworkin; vagueness; indeterminacy claim; interpretivist theory of law; legal language; juridical bivalence; interpretation; Andrei Marmor

Chapter.  12231 words. 

Subjects: Civil Law

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