Textualism in Context
19 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 18, 2012
The main purpose of this essay is to show that the views about linguistic communication that make Textualism a plausible theory of what the law says, show why textualism is not nearly as helpful a theory of statutory interpretation as its proponents claim. The essay begins with a brief outline of what Textualism is, in light of its critique of Intentionalism and Purposivism; it then proceeds to explain the view of language, particularly asserted linguistic content, that is required to make sense of Textualism, and defends this view against a neo-Gricean critique; finally, the paper strives to show why those same ideas about determinants of communicated content help us to see that Textualism has very little to offer by way of a general theory of statutory interpretation.
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