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    Causal Legal Semantics: A Critical Assessment


    Flanagan, Brian (2013) Causal Legal Semantics: A Critical Assessment. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 10. pp. 3-24. ISSN 1740-4681

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    Abstract

    A provision's legal meaning is thought by many to be a function of its literal meaning. To explain the appearance that lawyers are arguing over a provision's legal meaning and not just over which outcome would be more prudent or morally preferable, some legal literalists claim that a provision's literal meaning may be causally, rather than conventionally, determined. I argue, first, that the proposed explanation is inconsistent with common intuitions about legal meaning; second, that explaining legal disagreement as a function of the causally determined meanings of moral terms requires, but lacks, a causal semantics which is clearly consistent with the scope of moral disagreement. Finally, I suggest that an element of the theory of language invoked by 'causal' legal literalists might be better deployed as part oían intentionalist account of legal practice.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: legal disagreement; causal theory of reference; legal intentionalism;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 11651
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1163/174552412X628832
    Depositing User: Brian Flanagan
    Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2019 16:30
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Moral Philosophy
    Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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