The Dream of Interpretation

43 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2005


For any given rule, there are infinite interpretations. Yet law and interpretation are inseparable. Interpretation is a complex process, based on murky forces, exposed to some extent in institutions, habits and conventions, which are often poorly understood even by the person charged with the act of interpreting. The article deconstructs - through a series of improvisations on logic, reason, rules, duty, desire, repetition, enchantment, symptom and sin - the dream of interpreting law. Drawing on Wittgenstein, Freud, Kant, Foucault and others from the pantheon of modernism, the article ruminates on the endless prospect of interpretation and the possibility of discord.

Keywords: interpretation of the law, legal conventions, legal tradition, legal institutions, legal reasoning, legal rules, modernism, Wittgenstein, Freud, Kant, Foucault

Suggested Citation

Farley, Anthony Paul, The Dream of Interpretation. University of Miami Law Review, Vol. 57, pp. 685-726, 2003, Boston College Law School Research Paper No. 2003-01, Available at SSRN:

Anthony Paul Farley (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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