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An Analytical Foundation of Rule Scepticism

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Abstract

The essay distinguishes a few different senses of ‘interpretation’ and a few different kinds of ‘indeterminacy’ that are relevant for the law. In light of such distinctions, the author defends a ‘moderate’ approach to interpretive scepticism. Under this approach, interpretation has (conceptual, not factual) limits, in the sense that not every sentence claiming to be interpretive can be reasonably subsumed under the concept of interpretation. Interpreting consists not in ascribing just any meaning but in ascribing one meaning in the range of meanings admitted by (a) linguistic usage, (b) accepted interpretive methods and (c) juristic (‘dogmatic’) constructions. A limited concept of interpretation is essential in view of distinguishing between ordinary ascription of meaning to legal texts—i.e. adjudicative interpretation properly understood—and genuine ‘interstitial legislation’ by jurists and judges.

Keywords

Interpretation Indeterminacy Rule scepticism 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Genova, Tarello Institute for Legal PhilosophyGenovaItaly

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