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Can Theories of Meaning and Reference Solve the Problem of Legal Determinacy?

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A number of important legal theorists have recently argued for metaphysically realist approaches to legal determinacy grounded in particular semantic theories or theories of reference, in particular views of meaning and reference based on the works of Putnam and Kripke. The basic position of these theorists is that questions of legal interpretation and legal determinacy be approached through semantic meaning. However, the role of authority (in the form of lawmaker choice) in law in general and democratic systems in particular require that these realist “solutions” to the problem of legal determinacy be rejected or at least significantly revised.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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