Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, A. Marmor, ed., Routledge, 2012
26 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011
Date Written: June 26, 2011
The focus of this work is the role of interpretation in “legal reasoning,” defined to mean "finding rational support for legal conclusions (general or particular)". My argument is that each of the following aspects of legal reasoning need not involve interpretation: 1. Resolving indeterminacies as to the content of the law; 2. Working out the requirements of abstract legal provisions; 3. Deciding what is just; 4. Equitable interference with legal duties or powers or rights; 5. Understanding the law. I do not claim that interpretation is unimportant to legal reasoning, but that most legal reasoning is not interpretative. Much of what is commonly called “interpretation” can be done with no interpretation at all.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Endicott, Timothy A.O., Legal Interpretation (June 26, 2011). Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, A. Marmor, ed., Routledge, 2012 ; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 39/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1872883
By John Finnis
By Orin Kerr