Chapter

Meaning and Belief in Constitutional Interpretation

Andrei Marmor

in The Language of Law

Published in print April 2014 | ISBN: 9780198714538
Published online June 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191782831 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714538.003.0006
Meaning and Belief in Constitutional Interpretation

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The distinction between an evaluative concept and its possible conceptions plays a prominent role in debates about constitutional interpretation. The main purpose of the chapter is to raise some doubts about the linguistic assumptions that are employed in this debate, arguing that the semantic considerations underlying the concept versus conceptions distinction are much more problematic and inconclusive than generally assumed. The ways in which concepts are used in a speech act crucially depend on pragmatic determinants, and those, in turn, depend on the nature of the conversation. The chapter shows that the debate about constitutional interpretation is better seen as a moral debate about the nature of the conversation that constitutional regimes should be taken to establish.

Keywords: concept and conceptions; natural kinds; essentially contested concepts; constitutional interpretation; originalism; super-polysemy

Chapter.  10160 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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