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

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Abstract

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.

Keywords

Semantic externalism Open texture Cluster concepts Rules 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Juliele Sievers (UFSM), Rogério Severo (UFRGS) and the reviewer for their comments and suggestions. In addition, I’d like to thank CAPES (Brazilian institution for research) for the financial support to this research.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal University of Santa MariaSanta MariaBrazil

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