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The American Constitution and the Debate over Originalism

$39.99 (P)

  • Date Published: April 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521607797

$ 39.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Located at the intersection of law, political science, philosophy, and literary theory, this book explores the nature of American constitutional interpretation through a reconsideration of the long-standing debate between the interpretive theories of originalism and nonoriginalism. It traces that debate to a particular set of premises about the nature of language, interpretation, and objectivity, premises that raise the specter of unconstrained, unstructured constitutional interpretation that has haunted contemporary constitutional theory.

    • It presents both an understanding of constitutional interpretation and an innovative account of the democratic legitimacy and binding capacity of the Constitution
    • It presents the novel argument that a critique of the underlying premises of originalism dissolves not just originalism but nonoriginalism as well
    • It explores and explains the implications of the constitutive character of the Constitution
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Quite illuminating" Keith E. Whittington, Drake University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521607797
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The politics of originalism
    2. The concept of a living constitution
    3. Interpretivism and originalism
    4. The paradox of originalism
    5. The problem of objectivity
    6. The epistemology of constitutional discourse (I)
    7. The epistemology of constitutional discourse (II)
    8. The ontology of constitutional discourse (I)
    9. The ontology of constitutional discourse (II)
    10. Conclusion: the political character of constitutional discourse

  • Author

    Dennis J. Goldford, Drake University, Iowa
    Dennis Goldford is Associate Professor of Politics at Drake University, where he has been teaching since 1985. He received his BA in political science and philosophy from the University of Michigan, an M. Litt. in philosophy from Oxford University, and an MA and PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. He teaches in the areas of political theory, American politics, and constitutional law.

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