Pragmatic Maxims and Presumptions in Legal Interpretation

Forthcoming, Law and Philosophy, DOI: 10.1007/s10982-017-9306-4

33 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017

See all articles by Fabrizio Macagno

Fabrizio Macagno

Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Douglas Walton

University of Windsor

Giovanni Sartor

European University Institute Law Department

Date Written: June 12, 2017

Abstract

The fields of linguistic pragmatics and legal interpretation are deeply interrelated. The purpose of this paper is to show how pragmatics and the developments in argumentation theory can contribute to the debate on legal interpretation. The relation between the pragmatic maxims and the presumptions underlying the legal canons are brought to light, unveiling the principles that underlie the types of argument usually used to justify a construction. The Gricean maxims and the arguments of legal interpretation are regarded as presumptions subject to default used to justify an interpretation. This approach can allow one to trace the different legal interpretive arguments back to their basic underlying presumptions, so that they can be compared, ordered, and assessed according to their defeasibility conditions. This approach allows one to understand the difference between various types of interpretive canons, and their strength in justifying an interpretation.

Keywords: Pragmatics, Interpretation, Grice, Maxims, Argumentation, Presumptions

Suggested Citation

Macagno, Fabrizio and Walton, Douglas and Sartor, Giovanni, Pragmatic Maxims and Presumptions in Legal Interpretation (June 12, 2017). Forthcoming, Law and Philosophy, DOI: 10.1007/s10982-017-9306-4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2985072

Fabrizio Macagno (Contact Author)

Universidade Nova de Lisboa ( email )

Av. Berna 26 I&D Building, office 4.02
Lisbon, 1069-061
Portugal

HOME PAGE: http://fabriziomacagno.altervista.org/

Douglas Walton

University of Windsor ( email )

401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
Canada

Giovanni Sartor

European University Institute Law Department ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
ITALY

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