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Assessment Sensitivity in Legal Discourse

Forthcoming in Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (2017) Special issue on Language in the Law, eds. Nicholas Allott and Ben Shaer

21 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2017  

Andrej Kristan

Cátedra de cultura jurídica, University of Girona (Spain); Tarello Institute for Legal Philosophy, University of Genoa (Italy)

Massimiliano Vignolo

Università degli Studi di Genova

Date Written: January 2, 2017

Abstract

We explain three phenomena in legal discourse in terms of MacFarlane’s assessment-sensitive semantics: incompatible applications of law, assessments of statements about what is legally the case, and retrospective overruling. The claim is that assessment sensitivity fits in with the view, shared by many legal theorists at least with respect to hard cases, that the final adjudicator’s interpretation of legal sources is constitutive of the applied norm. We argue that there are strong analogies between certain kinds of statements in legal discourse as understood in light of that view and discourse about matters of taste and future contingents. Thus, if assessment-sensitive semantics provides a compelling account of discourse about matters of taste and future contingents, then it likewise provides a compelling account of those statements in legal discourse.

Keywords: semantics, law, assessment sensitivity, contextualism, minimalism

Suggested Citation

Kristan, Andrej and Vignolo, Massimiliano, Assessment Sensitivity in Legal Discourse (January 2, 2017). Forthcoming in Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (2017) Special issue on Language in the Law, eds. Nicholas Allott and Ben Shaer. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2892448

Andrej Kristan (Contact Author)

Cátedra de cultura jurídica, University of Girona (Spain) ( email )

Campus Montilivi
Girona, 17003
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://www.catedradeculturajuridica.com

Tarello Institute for Legal Philosophy, University of Genoa (Italy) ( email )

Via Balbi 30/18
Genoa, 16126
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://istitutotarello.org

Massimiliano Vignolo

Università degli Studi di Genova ( email )

Via Vivaldi 5
Genova, 16126
Italy

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