Cautions and Caveats for the Application of Wittgenstein to Legal Theory
University of Minnesota Law School
LAW AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, Campbell, O'Rourke & Shier, eds., MIT Press, pp. 217-229, 2005
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-2
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Date posted: November 12, 2004