Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1726524
 
 

References (21)



 


 



The Communication Theory of Legal Interpretation and Objective Notions of Communicative Content


Mark Greenberg


UCLA School of Law and Department of Philosophy

December 16, 2010

UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 10-35

Abstract:     
In a recent paper, Legislation As Communication? Legal Interpretation and the Study of Communication, I criticize an approach to statutory and constitutional interpretation that I call the communicative-content theory of law, or, for short, the communication theory. According to this approach, our best theories of language and communication teach us that the full linguistic meaning of an utterance is what the speaker or author communicates by the utterance – call it communicative content – which may go well beyond the literal meaning of the words. The communication theorists conclude that a statute's contribution to the content of the law is its communicative content. They thus draw a conclusion about the way in which statutes affect legal obligations from the study of language. In Legislation As Communication, I argue that the communication theory fails. Because it restricts itself to linguistic considerations, it lacks the resources to draw any conclusions about a statute's contribution to the content of the law. In the present paper, I consider how the communication theory would fare if it employed what I call an objective notion of communicative content – one on which communicative content is not constituted by the content of the speaker's communicative intentions. An objective version of the communication theory suffers from a different kind of problem in addition to those explored in Legislation As Communication. I argue that, to the extent that the communication theory adopts an objective notion of communicative content, it loses its distinctive features. In particular, philosophy of language cannot play the dominant role that the communication theory assigns to it.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: Legislation, Statute, Communication, Statutory Interpretation, Grice, Gricean Theory, Speaker's Meaning, The Content of the Law, Legislative Intention, Language, Linguistic Communication, Language and Law, Philosophy of Language, Constitutional Interpretation

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: December 18, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Greenberg, Mark, The Communication Theory of Legal Interpretation and Objective Notions of Communicative Content (December 16, 2010). UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 10-35. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1726524

Contact Information

Mark Greenberg (Contact Author)
UCLA School of Law and Department of Philosophy ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
(310) 206-1337 (Phone)
(310) 825-6023 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,335
Downloads: 241
Download Rank: 75,330
References:  21

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.312 seconds