Linguistic Objectivity in Norm Sentences: Alternatives in Literal Meaning

Ratio Juris 24 (2):112-139 (2011)
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Assuming that legal science, specifically with regard to interpretation, has to provide the tools to reduce the uncertainty of legal solutions arising from the use of natural languages by legal orders, it becomes a central matter to identify, in this limited domain, the spectrum of semantic variation (and its boundaries) that language brings to the definition of a norm expressed by a norm sentence. It is in this framework that the present paper, analyzing norm sentences as a specific kind of speech act, examines the relation of the legal order to natural language rules, the limits of linguistic uncertainty, and alternatives of meaning as distinct possibilities of norms covered by the text (that are, because of this, still within what literal meaning is). Considering interpretation just as the linguistic decoding process, the reverse of the process of creating norm sentences, the paper also argues that subjects not connected with the relation between norm sentences and norms (mainly, normative defeasibility) are analytically distinct and should be removed from the field of language



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