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Vagueness and Power-Delegation in Law: A Reply to Sorensen

In Michael Freeman & Fiona Smith (eds.), Current Legal Issues: Law and Language. Oxford University Press (2013)

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  1. An Acquittal for Epistemicism.Hesam Mohamadi - 2018 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 31 (4):905-928.
    Scott Soames argues that consideration of the practice of legal judgement gives us good reason to favor the partial-definition/context-sensitive theory of vagueness against epistemicism. Despite the fact that the value of power-delegation through vagueness is evidenced in practice, Soames says, epistemicism cannot account for it theoretically, while the partial-definition/context-sensitive theory is capable of it. In this paper, I examine the two possible arguments against epistemicism that can be extracted from Soames’s account: (i) an argument based on unknown obligations, and (ii) (...)
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  • Don't Ask, Look! Linguistic Corpora as a Tool for Conceptual Analysis.Roland Bluhm - 2013 - In Migue Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V. DuEPublico. pp. 7-15.
    Ordinary Language Philosophy has largely fallen out of favour, and with it the belief in the primary importance of analyses of ordinary language for philosophical purposes. Still, in their various endeavours, philosophers not only from analytic but also from other backgrounds refer to the use and meaning of terms of interest in ordinary parlance. In doing so, they most commonly appeal to their own linguistic intuitions. Often, the appeal to individual intuitions is supplemented by reference to dictionaries. In recent times, (...)
     
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  • Has Vagueness Really No Function in Law?David Lanius - 2013 - Sektionsbeiträge des Achten Internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft Für Analytische Philosophie E.V.
    When the United States Supreme Court used the expression “with all deliberate speed” in the case Brown v. Board of Education, it did so presumably because of its vagueness. Many jurists, economists, linguists, and philosophers accordingly assume that vagueness can be strategically used to one’s advantage. Roy Sorensen has cast doubt on this assumption by strictly differentiating between vagueness and generality. Indeed, most arguments for the value of vagueness go through only when vagueness is confused with generality. Sorensen claims that (...)
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  • Theories of Vagueness and Theories of Law.Alex Silk - 2019 - Legal Theory 25 (2):132-152.
    It is common to think that what theory of linguistic vagueness is correct has implications for debates in philosophy of law. I disagree. I argue that the implications of particular theories of vagueness on substantive issues of legal theory and practice are less far-reaching than often thought. I focus on four putative implications discussed in the literature concerning (i) the value of vagueness in the law, (ii) the possibility and value of legal indeterminacy, (iii) the possibility of the rule of (...)
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