The Origins of Open Texture in Language and Legal Philosophies in Oxford and Cambridge

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 2015

29 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2016

See all articles by Dawid Bunikowski

Dawid Bunikowski

Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship, Department of Philosophy; University of the Arctic; Cardiff University, Centre for Law and Religion; University of Eastern Finland, Law School

Date Written: August 31, 2015

Abstract

The concept of open texture (OT) is often used without explanation of what it really means. I aim to shed some light on its philosophical and legal theoretical background, focusing solely on the pre-Hartian period. While this paper aims to dig more deeply into the concept than has previously been the case, it also examines philosophers’ life stories. I start with the history of the concept, beginning with legal philosopher Herbert Hart and delving back as far as the philosopher of science and language Friedrich Waismann. Certain other important scholars (J.L. Austin, Wittgenstein, McKinnon) from Oxford and Cambridge from the periods both before and after World War II are mentioned in the paper. Records such as in memoriam speeches form an important part of the story presented here. In any event, OT is an extremely important element of both legal practice and science nowadays. It does not matter who first hit upon this concept and it is likely that it cannot be attributed to any sole individual in any case. Hart was involved in the same academic environment and was influenced by J. L. Austin, while the philosophy of that time in the two English strongest philosophical academic communities was also deeply influenced by both the thought and the personality of Wittgenstein. The origins of OT are complicated and sophisticated.

Keywords: Open Texture, Waismann, Hart

Suggested Citation

Bunikowski, Dawid, The Origins of Open Texture in Language and Legal Philosophies in Oxford and Cambridge (August 31, 2015). Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2725400

Dawid Bunikowski (Contact Author)

Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship, Department of Philosophy ( email )

127 Haddon Pl.
Montclair, NJ 07043-2314
United States

University of the Arctic ( email )

Rovaniemi, Lapland
Finland

Cardiff University, Centre for Law and Religion ( email )

PO Box 427
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom

University of Eastern Finland, Law School ( email )

PO Box 111
Joensuu, 80100
Finland

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