In this Article, I have analyzed the philosophical grounds on which stands the conception of law implied in legal transplants. On the one hand, behind the idea of legal transplants lurks the misleading assumption that two different legal cultures share common epistemological accounts of what is meant by law; on the other, the idea that a certain legal institution verbally framed may be exported to another culture and touch off similar interpretations and conceptual performances reflects, at its core, a conception of language based on an isomorphic correspondence between legal words and the meanings those words are to stand for. My goal has been to critically expose the philosophical backdrop that lies behind the conception of law implied in the idea of a legal transplant with an eye to the cultural perspective. To this end, I have availed myself of different but convergent perspectives gathered from Wittgenstein’s pragmatic philosophy of language, Geertz’s cultural anthropology, Eco’s semiology, Harris’ integrational epistemology, and Rosen’s cultural theory of law, as a methodological strategy to spotlight different facets of the problem in three dimensions: Language, knowledge, and law.
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