Izabela Skoczeń
Jagiellonian University
In this paper I will tackle three issues. First, I aim to briefly outline the backbone of semantic minimalism, while focusing on the idea of ‘liberal truth conditions’ developed by Emma Borg in her book ‘Minimal Semantics’. Secondly, I will provide an account of the three principal views in legal interpretation: intentionalism, textualism and purposivism. All of them are based on a common denominator labelled by lawyers ‘literal meaning’. In the paper I suggest a novel way of viewing this common denominator as almost identical to the Borgian ‘liberal truth conditions’, at least at a conceptual level. In the third section I will focus on the conceptual similarities between the two ideas. I intend to depict that, although legal theorists do not admit it explicitly, they treat literal legal meaning as minimal propositional content that can be ascribed liberal truth conditions. There are two main objections to liberal truth conditions: their under-determinacy and unintuitive character. Both objections can be applied to ‘literal meaning’. However, the idea of liberal truth conditions gives an adequate account of what lawyers call literal meaning and is helpful in explaining the mechanism of understanding of provisions and reasons leading to the necessity of statutory interpretation.
Keywords Semantic–pragmatic interface  Literal meaning  Liberal truth conditions  Semantic minimalism  Statutory interpretation  Co-text
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DOI 10.1007/s11196-015-9448-3
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References found in this work BETA

Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.
Minimal Semantics.Emma Borg - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Foundations of the Theory of Signs.Charles W. Morris - 1938 - University of Chicago Press Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Semiotic Aspects in Patent Interpretation.Simone R. N. Reis, Andre Reis, Jordi Carrabina & Pompeu Casanovas - 2019 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 32 (2):359-389.
The Grammar of Bias: Judicial Impartiality in European Legal Systems.Vito Breda - 2017 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 30 (2):245-260.

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