DOI: 10.1007/s11196-006-9013-1

Cite this article as:
CONKLIN, W.E. Int J Semiot Law (2006) 19: 93. doi:10.1007/s11196-006-9013-1


This essay retrieves Lon Fuller’s theory of language and the role of experience in such a theory. The essay distinguishes meaning from signification. A sign signifies or represents an object. Meaning is experienced before one ever signifies an object. Signification is cognitive. Meaning is bodily. Fuller locates meaning in what Hart excluded from legality as “pre-legal”. In the pre-legal realm, meant objects draw from memories and expectations. The memories may have been personally or collectively experienced. The analysis of rules takes signification for granted, however. When meaning is privileged, we appreciate why interpretation figures importantly in the role of the lawyer/official. So too, shared meanings, ‚located’ in experienced time, explain understanding and communication between members of a group. As a consequence of Fuller’s insights, meaning pre-conditions communication as well as the analysis of the signified rule. Since traditional analytical jurisprudence holds out that lawyers/officials analyse rules, both jurisprudence and the analytic project, Fuller cautions, risk being estranged from the lived meanings of the pre-legal realm. Instead, jurisprudes, lawyers and officials risk locking themselves into a fictitious world of dead concepts which are better known as rules.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WindsorWindsorCanada

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