How to Speak the Truth

American Journal of Jurisprudence, Vol. 46, pp. 229-248, 2002

17 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2008

See all articles by Timothy A.O. Endicott

Timothy A.O. Endicott

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; All Souls College

Date Written: July 3, 2008


John Finnis began his book Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980) by explaining why legal philosophers need a sensitive understanding of the nature and uses of words. His argument can be extended. Lawyers need the same forms of understanding in order to use the language of the law. Finnis's basic methodological principles in jurisprudence, I will argue, offer elements of an account of the relation between the law and the language used by authorities to make law and to state the law. Some important problems in the theory of legal interpretation can be resolved with the techniques that Finnis uses to address a methodological problem in jurisprudence. Those techniques are useful in jurisprudence because they are general principles of the meaning of words.

Keywords: jurisprudence

Suggested Citation

Endicott, Timothy A.O., How to Speak the Truth (July 3, 2008). American Journal of Jurisprudence, Vol. 46, pp. 229-248, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Timothy A.O. Endicott (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

All Souls College ( email )

14 High St
United Kingdom

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