The ontological basis of legal hermeneutics: A proposed model of inquiry based on the work of Gadamer, Habermas and Ricoeur
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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This paper provides a detailed account of Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics and its relationship to contemporary problems in legal theory. I first demonstrate that Gadamer's approach charts a course between the inflated claims of critical legal studies and the subjectivism of the law and literature movement. I then interrogate the hermeneutical approach from the perspective of Habermas's critical theory. I conclude that Ricoeur's intervention in the Gadamer-Habermas debate helps significantly to draw out the critical elements of Gadamer's work. I conclude by developing new model of legal practice and theory grounded in the textuality of law.
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