This paper contains an analysis of performatives with special attention to performatives in the law. It deals with the possibility to recognise performativity by means of a grammatical-syntactic criterion, the self-verifying and norm-promulgating character of legal performatives, an analysis of the effects of performatives by means of causal logic, the different forms of performativity and a theory of promise-performatives.
Roy Sorensen has argued that vagueness in the law cannot be justified by appeal to the value of power-delegation, and thereby threatens to take away one of the main reasons for thinking that vagueness can be valuable to law. Delegation of power to officials is justified, he thinks, only if these officials are in a better position to discover whether a particular x is F, a condition not satisfied in cases of vagueness. I argue that Sorensen’s argument is unsound: delegation (...) of power can be valuable even if the delegates are not in a better position to answer that question. (shrink)
More than half a century ago, the Supreme Court held that the free speech protection of the First Amendment is not limited to verbal communication, but also applies to such expressive conduct as saluting a flag or burning a flag. Even though the Supreme Court has decided a number of important cases involving expressive conduct, the Court has never announced any standards for distinguishing such conduct from conduct without communicative value. The aim of this paper is to examine which conceptions (...) of nonverbal expression underlie judicial decisions on expressive conduct, and to offer an account of expressive conduct grounded in contemporary semantic theory. The central hypothesis of this paper is that significance of expressive conduct can be explained by principles that explain important features of linguistic meaning. I propose an analysis of expressive conduct that takes the meaningfulness of conduct as a function of the action and its consequences in context. I develop a theory of expressive conduct whose underlying conception of expression is based on a number of ideas from speech act theory. These are Grice's account of nonnatural meaning, Austin's theory of illocutionary force, and Grice's work on conversational implicature. My analysis understands the meaningfulness of conduct in terms of its relational properties and relevant features of the context upon which illocutionary force, perlocutionary properties and implicature are predicated. The natural and conventional properties of types of conduct, features of the context, and underlying social and cultural presumptions and expectations about human conduct thus play a role in the constitution of symbolic speech. (shrink)
This article is based on a Lecture given as part of the Franklin J. Matchette Foundation Lecture Series on Truth at the Catholic University of America, School of Philosophy, in 2002. It explores what theorists in the natural law tradition and modern legal theorists have argued about what makes propositions of morality and law true, focusing on the rubric of "reason" as opposed to "will." It seems probable, and perhaps inevitable, that theorists about the nature of truth in morality must (...) choose between reason and will - that morality, at its core, is either one or the other. What makes law distinctive is that it is, as a practical matter if not by conceptual necessity, a mixture of both. And it is this intertwining of reason and will, of normative system and practical reasoning, which makes assertions about the nature of legal truth, and theories about the nature of law, so difficult. The arguments about truth in law are as much disagreements about what it means to say that a legal proposition is truth as they are about what makes legal propositions true. Are declarations of truth in law statements about legal norms and legal sources, or are they statements about the results of particular disputes or particularized inquiries? There are obvious complilcations in speaking of truth in a context like law, where there is simultaneously an effort to create a coherent normative system and a decision-making procedure that can modify that system in the course of resolving disputes. (shrink)
This book discusses one of the central problems in the philosophy of law--the question of legal determinacy. Is the law a seamless web or are there gaps? Bix argues that the major re-thinking of the common and "common sense" views about law that have been proposed by various recent legal theories is unnecessary. He offers a reconsideration of the role of language in the law, and the way ideas about language have been used and misused in recent legal theory. He (...) explores in depth the relationship to legal theory of Hart's influential idea of "open texture," Dworkin's interpretative approach to law, and Wittgenstein's philosophy. (shrink)
We argue that the dead donor rule, which states that multiple vital organs should only be taken from dead patients, is justified neither in principle nor in practice. We use a thought experiment and a guiding assumption in the literature about the justification of moral principles to undermine the theoretical justification for the rule. We then offer two real world analogues to this thought experiment, voluntary active euthanasia and capital punishment, and argue that the moral permissibility of terminating any patient (...) through the removal of vital organs cannot turn on whether or not the practice violates the dead donor rule.Next, we consider practical justifications for the dead donor rule. Specifically, we consider whether there are compelling reasons to promulgate the rule even though its corresponding moral principle is not theoretically justified. We argue that there are no such reasons. In fact, we argue that promulgating the rule may actually decrease public trust in organ procurement procedures and medical institutions generally – even in states that do not permit capital punishment or voluntary active euthanasia.Finally, we examine our case against the dead donor rule in the light of common arguments for it. We find that these arguments are often misplaced – they do not support the dead donor rule. Instead, they support the quite different rule that patients should not be killed for their vital organs. (shrink)
Can there be a non-reductivist, source-based explanation of the use of normative language in statements describing the law and legal situations? This problem was formulated by Joseph Raz, who also claimed to have solved it. According to his well-known doctrine of ‘detached’ statements, normative legal statements can be informatively made by speakers who merely adopt, without necessarily sharing, the point of view of someone who accepts that legal norms are justified and ought to be followed. In this paper I defend (...) two theses. I argue, first, that the notion of a detached statement cannot be made to work, and that Raz’s problem is thus not thereby solved. But the problem itself, I also suggest, is a false one. (shrink)
The forensic two-trace problem is a perplexing inference problem introduced by Evett (J Forensic Sci Soc 27:375–381, 1987). Different possible ways of wording the competing pair of propositions (i.e., one proposition advanced by the prosecution and one proposition advanced by the defence) led to different quantifications of the value of the evidence (Meester and Sjerps in Biometrics 59:727–732, 2003). Here, we re-examine this scenario with the aim of clarifying the interrelationships that exist between the different solutions, and in this way, (...) produce a global vision of the problem. We propose to investigate the different expressions for evaluating the value of the evidence by using a graphical approach, i.e. Bayesian networks, to model the rationale behind each of the proposed solutions and the assumptions made on the unknown parameters in this problem. (shrink)
Necessitarian accounts of the laws of nature have an apparent difficulty in accounting for counterlegal conditionals because, despite appearing to be substantive, on the necessitarian thesis they are vacuous. I argue that the necessitarian may explain the apparently substantive content of such conditionals by pointing out the presuppositions of counterlegal discourse. The typical presupposition is that a certain conceptual possibility has been realized; namely, that necessitarianism is false. (The idea of conceptual possibility is explicated in terms of recent work in (...) two-dimensional modal semantics.) If this sort of presupposition is made explicit in counterlegal utterances, we obtain a sentence such as: 'If it turns out that the laws of nature are contingent, then if the laws had been otherwise, then such and such would have been the case.' Sentences of this type are non-vacuous, and very often true. I argue that this goes a long way towards resolving the difficulty for necessitarianism. (shrink)
The dominant approach to evaluating the law on evidence and proof focuses on how the trial system should be structured to guard against error. This book argues instead that complex and intertwining moral and epistemic considerations come into view when departing from the standpoint of a detached observer and taking the perspective of the person responsible for making findings of fact. Ho contends that it is only by exploring the nature and content of deliberative responsibility that the role and purpose (...) of much of the law can be fully understood. In many cases, values other than truth have to be respected, not simply as side-constraints, but as values which are internal to the nature and purpose of the trial. A party does not merely have a right that the substantive law be correctly applied to objectively true findings of fact, and a right to have the case tried under rationally structured rules. The party has, more broadly, a right to a just verdict, where justice must be understood to incorporate a moral evaluation of the process which led to the outcome. Ho argues that there is an important sense in which truth and justice are not opposing considerations; rather, principles of one kind reinforce demands of the other. This book argues that the court must not only find the truth to do justice, it must do justice in finding the truth. (shrink)
This volume puts leading pragmatists in the philosophy of language, including Robert Brandom, in contact with scholars concerned with what pragmatism has come to mean for the law. Each contribution uses the resources of pragmatism to tackle fundamental problems in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of law, and social and political philosophy. In many chapters, the version of pragmatism deployed proves a fruitful approach to its subject matter; in others, shortcomings of the specific brand of pragmatism are revealed. The (...) result is a clearer understanding of what pragmatism has meant and can mean across these tightly related philosophical areas. The book, then, is itself pragmatism in action: it seeks to clarify its unifying concept by examining the practices that centrally involve it. (shrink)
Every description contains within it a qualifier that allows us to avoid the problem of descriptive regress, and thus allows us to use the description for various purposes. Descriptive regress occurs because no one description can be understood without referring to further descriptions, which themselves require unpacking by reference to further descriptions ad infinitum. There are no fundamental descriptions no descriptions that attain and keep some privileged ontological status. The qualifier works by invoking the normal circumstances in which the description (...) obtains. It is impossible to foresee and describe in advance all the circumstances that would not be normal and that would reveal to us when the description could not obtain. It is our common sense the sense we develop as members of communities, and a sense sometimes narrowed and specialized in certain forms of life of what set of normal circumstances are implied into the description that allows us to use descriptions for various purposes (e.g. for describing circumstances in which some normative consequence should follow if the description obtains). This theory of descriptions is particularly relevant to the analysis of the role of descriptions of behavior and behavioral concepts in law. Law, in order to enable the regulation and evaluation of human behavior, cannot do without behavioral foundations criteria for evaluation of behavior are always based on certain descriptions of behavior and behavioral concepts. The theory of descriptions developed explains how descriptions of behavior function, namely, their utility relies on the legal community's common sense of the qualifiers attaching to descriptions of behavior. But that theory also has a reformative agenda: we should not think that any one description or any one behavioral concept such as that of intentionality can do all the work for us, in every area of the law, and in respect of every single social phenomenon. We need, in other words, to rethink the criteria for the evaluation of behavior on the basis of this theory of descriptions: i.e. on both the power and the limitations of descriptions of behavior. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to explore some of the main pragmatic aspects of communication within the legal context. It will be argued that in some crucial respects, the pragmatics of legal language is unique, involving considerations that are not typically present in ordinary conversational contexts. In particular, certain normative considerations that are typically settled in a regular conversational context are unresolved and potentially contentious in the legal case. On the other hand, the essay also argues that a careful (...) distinction between various pragmatic aspects of language use enables us to offer some generalizations about types of pragmatic enrichment that could be taken to form, or not to form, part of what is actually determined by legal expressions. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- 1. The Value of Vagueness, Timothy Endicott -- 2. Vagueness and the Guidance of Action, Jeremy Waldron -- 3. What Vagueness and Inconsistency tell us about Interpretation, Scott Soames -- 4. Textualism and the Discovery of Rights, John Perry -- 5. The Intentionalism of Textualism, Stephen Neale -- 6. Can the Law Imply More than It Says? On some pragmatic aspects of Strategic Speech, Andrei Marmor -- 7. Modeling Legal Rules, Richard Holton -- 8. Trying (...) to Kill the Dead: De Dicto and De Re Intention in Attempted Crimes, Gideon Yaffe -- 9. Philosophy of Language and the Law of Contracts, Gideon Rosen -- 10. Language and Law: Who's in Charge?, Mark Greenberg -- 11. Meaning and Impact, Nicos Stavropoulos. (shrink)
Are propositions of law true or false? If so, what does it mean to say that propositions of law are true and false? This book takes up these questions in the context of the wider philosophical debate over realism and anti-realism. Despite surface differences, Patterson argues that the leading contemporary jurisprudential theories all embrace a flawed conception of the nature of truth in law. Instead of locating that in virtue of which propositions of law are true, Patterson argues that lawyers (...) use forms of argument to show the truth of propositions of law. Additionally, Patterson argues that the realism/anti-realism debate in jurisprudence is part of a larger argument over the role of postmodernism in jurisprudence. For this, Patterson offers an analytic account of postmodernism and charts its implications for legal theory. This book will be of interest to those in legal theory, philosophy, social and political theory, and ethics. (shrink)
This paper presents a new language for isomorphic representations of legalknowledge in feature structures. The language includes predefinedstructures based on situation theory for common-sense categories, andpredefined structures based on Van Kralingens (1995) frame-based conceptualmodelling language for legal rules. It is shown that the flexibility of thefeature-structure formalism can exploited to allow for structure-preservingrepresentations of non-primitive concepts, and to enable various types ofinteraction and cross-<span class='Hi'>reference</span> between language elements. A fragment of theDutch Opium Act is used to illustrate how modelling and (...) reasoning proceed in practice. (shrink)
The paper goes into the intricate logical relation between imperatives, precepts and norms. It shows that there need not be two senses of "ought", the one descriptive and the other prescriptive, since when the law-giver enacts a fresh statute he is hereby making a tru statement, whose truth is grounded on the statement itself.
One of the recent trends in the philosophy of language and theory of meaning is the inferentialist project launched by Robert Brandom (1994, 2000, 2008), elaborating on the approach of Wilfrid Sellars (1953, 1954, 1956, 1974). According to this project, language is to be seen as essentially a rule-governed activity, providing for meaningful utterances in a way analogous to the way in which the rules of chess provide for making one's pawns, bishops or rooks attack one's opponent, checking his king (...) or castling (see Peregrin, 2008). Inferentialism is also a theory of the nature of human reason and consequently of the nature of man, hence an ambitious project. Independently of how realistic these ambitions are, it is of a profound interest that many of the ideas of contemporary general semantic inferentialism were already tabled and discussed within the philosophy of law. Some of them were used to account for the semantics of legal discourse just like they are now used to account for discourse more generally and hence their current employment can be seen as mere generalization; others were submitted to illustrate the fact that legal discourse is specific rather than continuous with the ordinary one. In this paper we would like to survey two such discussions; before presenting the example of the former kind, we will mention one of the latter kind. We will try to show how the legal theorists anticipated current discussions in the field of the philosophy of language and that given the current constellation of the debate, philosophy of language may learn many things from the philosophy of law. (shrink)
It is shown that the most plausible metasemantics for a typical common noun provides materials for a transcendental argument for objectivity: the very possibility that a typical common noun should have its significance requires that there be an objective measure of similarity among instances of the relevant kind.
We discuss several aspects of legal arguments, primarily arguments about the meaning of statutes. First, we discuss how the requirements of argument guide the specification and selection of supporting cases and how an existing case base influences argument formation. Second, we present,our evolving taxonomy of patterns of actual legal argument. This taxonomy builds upon our much earlier work on argument moves and also on our more recent analysis of how cases are used to support arguments for the interpretation of legal (...) statutes. Third, we show how the theory of argument used by CABARET, a hybrid case-based/rule-based reasoner, can support many of the argument patterns in our taxonomy. (shrink)
By “legal interpretation” I mean the legally authoritative resolution of questions about what the content of the law is in its application to particular cases. It is the interpretation of legal texts by legally authoritative actors. One aspect of it is epistemological and one is constitutive. The epistemological task is to ascertain the content of laws resulting from previous actions of other legally authoritative sources. The constitutive task is to render an authoritative judgment that itself plays a role in determining (...) what the content of the law is. Sometimes this judgment changes the content of the laws, or legal provisions, that were the focus of the epistemological task. (shrink)
Interpreting the everyday -- Art interpretation : the central issues -- A theory of art interpretation : substantive claims -- A theory of art interpretation : conceptual and ontological claims -- Radical constructivism -- Moderate and historical constructivism -- Interpretation and construction in the law -- Relativism versus pluralism.
Truth is a fundamental objective of adjudicative processes; ideally, substantive as distinct from formal legal truth. But problems of evidence, for example, may frustrate finding of substantive truth; other values may lead to exclusions of probative evidence, e.g., for the sake of fairness. Jury nullification and jury equity. Limits of time, and definitiveness of decision, require allocation of burden of proof. Degree of truth-formality is variable within a system and across systems.
In this paper, the set-theoretic approach in the logical theory of normative systems is extended using Broome’s definition of the normative code function. The syntax and semantics for first order metanormative language is defined, and metanormative language is applied in the formalization of the basic principles in Broome’s approach and in the construction of a logical typology of normative systems. Special attention is given to the types of normative systems which are not definable in terms of the properties of singular (...) sets of requirements (e.g. the realization equivalence of codes, the social compatibility of codes, and the compatibility of codes issued by different normative sources). Examples are given of the application of the typology in the interpretation of philosophical texts. Von Wright’s hypothesis on the connection of logical properties of normative systems, conceived set-theoretically, with standard deontic logic is proved by introducing the translation function between the metanormative language and the restricted language of standard deontic logic. The translation reveals that von Wright’s hypothesis must be appended. The problems of narrow and wide scope readings of the deontic conditionals and of the meaning of iterated deontic operators are addressed using the distinction between relative and absolute normative codes. The theorem on the existence of a realization equivalent absolute code for any relative code is proved. (shrink)