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Contributions from the 1st Genova-Slavic Seminar in Legal Theory

Legal interpretation without truth

Pierluigi Chiassoni
p. 93-118


The paper purports to provide an analytical treatment of the truth and legal interpretation issue. In the first part, it lays down a conceptual apparatus meant to capture the main aspects of the legal interpretation phenomenon, with particular attention paid to the several kinds of linguistic outputs (interpretive sentences in a broad sense) resulting from interpretive activities (in a broad sense). In the second part, it recalls three different notions of truth (empirical truth, pragmatic truth, and systemic truth), focussing, so far as systemic truth is concerned, on the difference between deductive and rhetorical normative systems. In the third, and last, part, it shows in which ways the phenomenon of legal interpretation encompasses truth-apt entities, leaving the choice between austere and liberal alethic pluralism to the reader. A few, final remarks address the formalism/scepticism problem.

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Odlomek besedila

Celotno besedilo je dostopno le naročnikom do: novembre 2018.


1 The haunting problem
2 A conceptual framework for legal interpretation
2.1 Practically oriented interpretation in a proper sense
2.1.1 Textual interpretation
2.1.2 Meta-textual interpretation
2.2 Theoretically oriented interpretation in a proper sense
2.3 Interpretation in an improper sense
2.3.1 Interpretation-detection
2.3.2 Interpretation-prediction
2.3.3 Interpretation-prescription
2.4. Taking stock
3 Three notions of truth
3.1 Empirical truth
3.2 Pragmatic truth
3.3 Systemic truth
3.4 Taking stock
4 Which truth in legal interpretation?

Prve vrstice

1 The haunting problem

My aim in this paper is to provide an exploration—in every respect, a very tentative one—of the connections between legal interpretation and truth. The problem I wish to deal with, a problem that haunts so much work in the field, can be conveyed, roughly speaking, by the following question: Has truth anything to do with legal interpretation? Or, perhaps in more precise terms: Is there any room for truth in legal interpretation, and, if so, where is it?

It goes without saying that any fruitful attempt to deal with this problem requires a careful clarification of the key terms of the inquiry. As a consequence, my paper will be divided into three parts. The first part will be devoted to working out a network of concepts capable of capturing the several aspects of the complex social phenomenon that is usually referred to by the phrase “legal interpretation” in its broadest meaning (§ 2). The second part will identify a few notions of truth that seem suitable to be e...

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Bibliografski sklic

Pierluigi Chiassoni, « Legal interpretation without truth », Revus, 29 | 2016, 93-118.

Spletni sklic

Pierluigi Chiassoni, « Legal interpretation without truth », Revus [Spletna izdaja], 29 | 2016, Datum spletne objave: 04 novembre 2018, ogled: 20 janvier 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/revus.3615

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Pierluigi Chiassoni

Professor of Law at the University of Genoa, Italy

Address: Tarello Institute for Legal Philosophy, Via Balbi 30/18, 16126 Genoa (Italy).


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