Cautions and Caveats for the Application of Wittgenstein to Legal Theory

LAW AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, Campbell, O'Rourke & Shier, eds., MIT Press, pp. 217-229, 2005

Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-2

13 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2004  

Brian Bix

University of Minnesota Law School

Abstract

This article (based on a paper presented to the 2002 Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference) raises questions about the way some legal theorists have used the later work of Ludwig Wittgenstein - in particular his rule-following considerations. Wittgenstein's ideas have been used to ground both skeptical approaches and highly conservative approaches to legal reasoning and legal interpretation. In nearly every case, such arguments are based either on mis-readings of Wittgenstein's work, or ungrounded extensions of his ideas. The article concludes that while there are valuable uses for Wittgenstein's work within legal theory, theorists must argue with care when they attempt such cross-disciplinary borrowings.

Suggested Citation

Bix, Brian, Cautions and Caveats for the Application of Wittgenstein to Legal Theory. LAW AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, Campbell, O'Rourke & Shier, eds., MIT Press, pp. 217-229, 2005; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=619123

Brian Bix (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-2505 (Phone)
612-625-2011 (Fax)

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