Law and Language

Timothy A. O. Endicott

in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270972
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 Law and Language

Show Summary Details


This article addresses the basic jurisprudential question. It is concerned with some of the ways in which people claim that an understanding of language helps to solve problem of jurisprudence. It attempts to identify some of the most interesting and important mistakes that legal philosophers have made about language. It discusses three reasons why understanding language might be useful. An understanding of vagueness points out that the language of the law, and the law itself, cannot always determine the outcome that the law requires, and that the judge must resolve questions left unresolved by the law. The diversity principle and the context principle are also essential for the development of useful theoretical terms. Another insight that language provides is of limited use in jurisprudence. A clear understanding of some of the problems of the philosophy of language is very useful for legal philosophers.

Keywords: jurisprudential; legal philosophers; vagueness; theoretical terms; language

Article.  17326 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.