Pragmatic Maxims and Presumptions in Legal Interpretation

Law and Philosophy 37 (1):69-115 (2018)
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Abstract

The fields of linguistic pragmatics and legal interpretation are deeply interrelated. The purpose of this paper is to show how pragmatics and the developments in argumentation theory can contribute to the debate on legal interpretation. The relation between the pragmatic maxims and the presumptions underlying the legal canons are brought to light, unveiling the principles that underlie the types of argument usually used to justify a construction. The Gricean maxims and the arguments of legal interpretation are regarded as presumptions subject to default used to justify an interpretation. This approach can allow one to trace the different legal interpretive arguments back to their basic underlying presumptions, so that they can be compared, ordered, and assessed according to their defeasibility conditions. This approach allows one to understand the difference between various types of interpretive canons, and their strength in justifying an interpretation.

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Author Profiles

Fabrizio Macagno
Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa
Douglas Walton
Last affiliation: University of Windsor

Citations of this work

The Derivational Theory of Legal Interpretation in Polish Legal Theory.Olgierd Bogucki - 2020 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 33 (3):617-636.
Statutory Interpretation as Argumentation.Douglas Walton, Giovanni Sartor & Fabrizio Macagno - 2011 - In Colin Aitken, Amalia Amaya, Kevin D. Ashley, Carla Bagnoli, Giorgio Bongiovanni, Bartosz Brożek, Cristiano Castelfranchi, Samuele Chilovi, Marcello Di Bello, Jaap Hage, Kenneth Einar Himma, Lewis A. Kornhauser, Emiliano Lorini, Fabrizio Macagno, Andrei Marmor, J. J. Moreso, Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco, Antonino Rotolo, Giovanni Sartor, Burkhard Schafer, Chiara Valentini, Bart Verheij, Douglas Walton & Wojciech Załuski (eds.), Handbook of Legal Reasoning and Argumentation. Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer Verlag. pp. 519-560.
Modelling Perjury: Between Trust and Blame.Izabela Skoczeń - 2021 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 35 (2):771-805.

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References found in this work

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Fallacies.Charles Leonard Hamblin - 1970 - Newport News, Va.: Vale Press.
Argumentation Schemes.Douglas Walton, Christopher Reed & Fabrizio Macagno - 2008 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Chris Reed & Fabrizio Macagno.
Argumentation schemes for presumptive reasoning.Douglas N. Walton - 1996 - Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.
The inference to the best explanation.Gilbert H. Harman - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):88-95.

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