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Can Theories of Meaning and Reference Solve the Problem of Legal Determinacy?


Brian Bix


University of Minnesota Law School


Ratio Juris, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 281-295, September 2003
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-01

Abstract:     
A number of important legal theorists have recently argued for metaphysically realist approaches to legal determinacy grounded in particular semantic theories or theories of reference, in particular, views of meaning and reference based on the works of Putnam and Kripke. The basic position of these theorists is that questions of legal interpretation and legal determinacy should be approached through semantic meaning. However, the role of authority (in the form of lawmaker choice) in law in general, and democratic systems in particular, require that these realist solutions to the problem of legal determinacy be rejected, or at least significantly revised.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: legal determinacy, semantic theories, Michael Moore

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Date posted: January 17, 2008 ; Last revised: January 22, 2008

Suggested Citation

Bix, Brian, Can Theories of Meaning and Reference Solve the Problem of Legal Determinacy?. Ratio Juris, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 281-295, September 2003 ; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-01. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1084105

Contact Information

Brian Bix (Contact Author)
University of Minnesota Law School ( email )
229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-2505 (Phone)
612-625-2011 (Fax)
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