Sceptical Arguments

Richard Ekins

in The Nature of Legislative Intent

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646999
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741159 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Legal Philosophy

Sceptical Arguments

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This chapter outlines the main grounds of scepticism about legislative intent, focusing on the work of two leading philosophical sceptics: Dworkin and Waldron. It also considers relevant work in political science. It explains how these scholars understand the idea of legislative intent and the grounds on which they deny that it is possible for legislative intent to exist. The sceptical arguments all focus on the significance of the fact that the modern legislature is a group of legislators. The chapter contends that the arguments refute a certain understanding of legislative intent, in which intent is thought to be the aggregate of the intentions of (some or all of) the individual legislators, but fail to disprove the possibility that the institution itself forms and acts on intentions.

Keywords: legislative intent; Dworkin; Waldron; Shepsle; Arrow's theorem; voting machine

Chapter.  13224 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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