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
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Douglas Walton
Last affiliation: University of Windsor

Citations of this work

Statutory Interpretation as Argumentation.Douglas Walton, Giovanni Sartor & Fabrizio Macagno - 2018 - 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. Cambridge University Press. pp. 519-560.
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.
Mood and Force in Defeasible Arguments.Ryan Phillip Quandt & John Licato - 2021 - Argument and Computation 12 (3):303-328.

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References found in this work

The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.
The Inference to the Best Explanation.Gilbert H. Harman - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):88-95.
Fallacies.C. L. Hamblin - 1970 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 160:492-492.
Defeasible Reasoning.John L. Pollock - 1987 - Cognitive Science 11 (4):481-518.
Law's Empire.Ken Kress - 1986 - Ethics 97 (4):834-860.

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