Prof. Timothy Endicott (University of Oxford) will talk on "The Meaning of Words and the Content of the Law"
15.06.2023 / 17:00 s.t.
RESOWI-Zentrum, Bauteil B, 1. OG
Universitätsstraße 15, 8010 Graz
Interpretation ascribes meaning to an object. A theory of legal interpretation should account for both the objects and the meaning. I will refute the view that the meaning of a word is its content; that content is the contribution of a word to the meaning of a sentence.
Instead, I will argue that the meaning of a word is not in any sense a content. The meaning of an assertoric utterance is its content, and the meaning of a law-making act is the content of the law. That content is not determined by the dispositions of speakers. Words and sentences and their meanings are li guistic entities; the content of an utterance is the proposition that it expresses. The truth of an utterance is a material question and not a linguistic question. I consider implications of this view for general jurisprudence.