In Geert Keil & Ralf Poscher (eds.), Vagueness and Law: Philosophical and Legal Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 95–126 (2016)

Authors
Hrafn Asgeirsson
University of Surrey
Abstract
Scott Soames has recently argued that the fact that lawmakers and other legal practitioners regard vagueness as having a valuable power-delegating function gives us good reason to favor one theory of vagueness over another. If Soames is right, then facts about legal practice can in an important sense adjudicate between rival theories of vagueness. I argue that due to what I call the “Gappiness Problem” – raised by recent critics of the “communicative-content theory of law” – we have to give up the one premise of Soames’s argument that he seems to take to be uncontroversial: that the legal content of a statute or constitutional clause is identical with, or constituted by, its communicative content. I provide a sketch of my own account of legal content and show how it provides a response to the Gappiness Problem. This account, however, does not suffice to vindicate Soames’s argument. I conclude by arguing that my point about Soames’s argument is generalizable.
Keywords Jurisprudence  Vagueness  Philosophy of Language  Philosophy of Law  Law and Language
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