Hart and Putnam on Rules and Paradigms: A Reply to Stavropoulos

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 31 (1):53-77 (2018)
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Near the end of the last century, some legal philosophers adapted the so called causal theories of reference to solve internal problems in legal theory. Among those philosophers, Nicos Stavropoulos adjusted Hilary Putnam’s semantic externalism claiming it as a better philosophical view than legal positivism defended by Herbert Hart. According to him, what determines the correct application of a legal rule must be determined by the objects themselves. In that case, what determines the reference of legal terms is an issue to be solved by the best theory developed. However, this is not the case necessarily: Hart’s model can reach to the same conclusions as an externalist adjustment of law. Furthermore, the epistemic criteria required by Putnam to deal with value judgements are also acceptable in a positivist model. This paper presents the central thesis of Putnam’s semantic externalism, with Stavropoulos adaptations to law, and defends that Hart’s approach to deal with legal rules and Putnam’s approach to deal with language rules can converge.



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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
The concept of law.Hla Hart - 1961 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic.Rudolf Carnap - 1947 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Taking rights seriously.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 1977 - London: Duckworth.

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