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Penumbral Thinking Revisited: Metaphor in Legal Argumentation

Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, 2010

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-18

30 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2009 Last revised: 15 Jun 2010

Chris Rideout

Seattle University School of Law

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Abstract

This article looks at the use of metaphor in legal argumentation, using as its example the penumbra metaphor found in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965) and the subsequent controversy over its use. The article points out that some of this controversy may lie in longstanding attitudes toward the place of metaphor in language and thought, but that under contemporary cognitive theories of metaphor, that controversy is misdirected. Justice Douglas’s metaphor offers an appropriate example of what could be called a spatial metaphor. His expression of the metaphorical entailment, however, may be inaccurate - a more legitimate area of concern and a possible object lesson for the use of metaphors in legal argumentation.

Keywords: legal argument, metaphor

Suggested Citation

Rideout, Chris, Penumbral Thinking Revisited: Metaphor in Legal Argumentation. Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, 2010; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1520270

Chris Rideout (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA n/a 98122
United States

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