Statutory Interpretation and the Intentional(Ist) Stance
17 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2006
Professors Cheryl Boudreau, Mathew D. McCubbins and Daniel B. Rodriguez assert that judges need not search for the legislature's actual intent in order to interpret a statute. Instead, judges should ask what statutes mean. Because legislatures are collectivities, it makes little sense to try to discern their actual intent. Rather, the authors borrow from cognitive science and philosophy, both of which emphasize that humans regularly impute intentions to collectivities to figure out the meaning of their actions. The authors then argue that judges should concern themselves with this metaphorical intent when interpreting statutes. In this way, the focus of the statutory interpretation debate should shift from intent to meaning, and judges should properly turn to trustworthy extrinsic aids to inform their interpretations of statutes.
Keywords: statutory interpretation
JEL Classification: K1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation