Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (1):3-24 (2013)

Brian Flanagan
Maynooth University
A provision’s legal meaning is thought by many to be a function of its literal meaning. To explain the appearance that lawyers are arguing over a provision’s legal meaning and not just over which outcome would be more prudent or morally preferable, some legal literalists claim that a provision’s literal meaning may be causally, rather than conventionally, determined. I argue, first, that the proposed explanation is inconsistent with common intuitions about legal meaning; second, that explaining legal disagreement as a function of the causally determined meanings of moral terms requires, but lacks, a causal semantics which is clearly consistent with the scope of moral disagreement. Finally, I suggest that an element of the theory of language invoked by ‘causal’ legal literalists might be better deployed as part of an intentionalist account of legal practice
Keywords legal disagreement   causal theory of reference   legal intentionalism
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DOI 10.1163/174552412X628832
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
How to Be a Moral Realist.Richard Boyd - 1988 - In G. Sayre-McCord (ed.), Essays on Moral Realism. Cornell University Press. pp. 181-228.
Natural Kinds and Biological Taxa.John Dupre - 1981 - Philosophical Review 90 (1):66-90.
Natural Kinds and Biological Taxa.John Dupre - 1981 - The Philosophical Review 90 (1):66-90.

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Same-Sex Marriage and the Spanish Constitution: The Linguistic-Legal Meaning Interface.Rina Villars - 2017 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 30 (2):273-300.

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