Legal Positivism and Originalist Interpretation

Revista Argentina de Teoria Juridica. 2015 Forthcoming

San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 15-200

25 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2015

See all articles by Larry Alexander

Larry Alexander

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: November 16, 2015

Abstract

The topic I have been assigned for this keynote address is the relationship between legal positivism and originalist theories of interpretation. Fortunately for me, there is indeed a relationship between these two things, and a strong one at that. Or so I shall contend. My plan is as follows: I shall first give an account of legal positivism. That account will be brief, no more than a sketch, but hopefully not a caricature. But it will be sufficient for demonstrating the relationship between legal positivism and originalist interpretation. After my brief portrayal of legal positivism, I shall turn my attention to originalist interpretation. I shall show why legal positivism supports originalism. And I shall conclude by discussing various objections to originalism, objections that nevertheless can be successfully parried.

Keywords: positivism, originalism, intended meaning, public meaning, rules, principles, standards, concepts, legal philsosophy (jurisprudence)

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Lawrence, Legal Positivism and Originalist Interpretation (November 16, 2015). Revista Argentina de Teoria Juridica. 2015 Forthcoming; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 15-200. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2691740

Lawrence Alexander (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-2317 (Phone)
619-260-4728 (Fax)

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