Legal Theory 26 (1):62-99 (2020)

Francois Schroeter
University of Melbourne
Laura Schroeter
University of Melbourne
ABSTRACTWhat does it take for lawyers and others to think or talk about the same legal topic—e.g., defamation, culpability? We argue that people are able to think or talk about the same topic not when they possess a matching substantive understanding of the topic, as traditional metasemantics says, but instead when their thoughts or utterances are related to each other in certain ways. And what determines the content of thoughts and utterances is what would best serve the core purposes of the representational practice within which the thought or utterance is located. In thus favoring a “relational model” in metasemantics, we share Ronald Dworkin's goal of explaining fundamental legal disagreements, and also his reliance on constructive interpretation. But what we delineate is a far more general and explanatorily resourceful metasemantics than what Dworkin articulated, which also bypasses some controversial implications for the nature of law that Dworkin alleged.
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DOI 10.1017/s1352325220000063
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