Hermeneutics and Law

The Blackwell Companion to Hermeneutics (Eds. Naill Keane and Chris Lawn, 2015)

13 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2014 Last revised: 20 Jul 2014

See all articles by Francis Joseph Mootz

Francis Joseph Mootz

University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law

Date Written: June 30, 2014

Abstract

This chapter will appear in a forthcoming book on hermeneutics. After providing a hermeneutical phenomenology of legal practice that locates legal interpretation at the center of the rule of law, the chapter considers three important hermeneutical themes:

(1) the critical distinction between a legal historian writing aboout a law in the past and a judge deciding a case according to the law;

(2) the reinvigoration of the natural law tradition against the reductive characteristics of legal positivism by construing human nature as hermeneutical; and

(3) the role of philosophical hermeneutics in grounding critical legal theory rather than serving as a quiescent acceptance of the status quo, as elaborated by reconsidering the famous exchanges between Gadamer, Ricoeur and Habermas.

I argue that these three important themes are sufficient to underwrite Gadamer's famous assertion that legal practice has exemplary status for hermeneutical theory.

Keywords: Critical Theory, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jurgen Habermas, Martin Heidegger, Hermeneutics, Natural Law, Positivism, Rhetoric, Paul Ricoeur

Suggested Citation

Mootz, Francis Joseph, Hermeneutics and Law (June 30, 2014). The Blackwell Companion to Hermeneutics (Eds. Naill Keane and Chris Lawn, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461020

Francis Joseph Mootz (Contact Author)

University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law ( email )

3200 Fifth Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95817
United States

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