Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

VAGUENESS, INTERPRETATION, AND THE LAW*

  • Ólafur Páll Jónsson (a1)

Abstract

It is widely accepted that vagueness in law calls for a specific interpretation of the law—interpretation that changes the meaning of the law and makes it more precise. According to this view, vagueness causes gaps in the law, and the role of legal interpretation in the case of vagueness is to fill such gaps. I argue that this view is mistaken and defend the thesis that vagueness in law calls only for an application of the law to the case at hand, leaving the meaning of the law intact.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Aquinas, Thomas. (2006) Summa Theologiae: Law and Political Theory, vol. 28, 1a2æ, 9097 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).
Burnyeat, Miles. (1982) “Gods and Heaps,” in Schofield, Malcolm and Nussbaum, Martha C., eds., Language and Logos: Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy Presented to G. E. L. Owen (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).
Christie, George C. (1963–1964) “Vagueness and Legal Language,” Minnesota Law Review 48: 885911.
Dworkin, Ronald. (1977) Taking Rights Seriously, 2nd ed. (London: Duckworth).
Dworkin, Ronald. (1985a) A Matter of Principle (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Dworkin, Ronald. (1985b) “Is There Really No Right Answer in Hard Cases,” in A Matter of Principle (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Dworkin, Ronald. (1991) “On Gaps in the Law,” in MacCormick, Neil and Amselek, Paul, eds., Controversies about Law's Ontology (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).
Dworkin, Ronald. (1998) Laws Empire, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Hart Publishing).
Endicott, Timothy. (2000) Vagueness in Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Dworkin, Ronald. (2005) “The Value of Vagueness,” in Bhatia, Vijay K., Engberg, Jan, Gotti, Maurizio, and Heller, Dorothee, eds., Vagueness in Normative Texts (Bern, Germany: Peter Lang).
Fine, Kit. (1975) “Vagueness, Truth and Logic,” Synthese 30:265300, reprinted in Keefe, Rosanna and Smith, Peter, eds., Vagueness: A Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996).
Geach, Peter. (1980) Reference and Generality (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).
Rosanna, Keefe, and Peter, Smith, eds. (1996) Vagueness: A Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).
Lewis, David K. (1993) “Many but Almost One,” in Bacon, J., Campbell, K., and Reinhardt, L., eds., Ontology, Causality and Mind: Essays in Honour of D.M. Armstrong (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).
Lyons, David. (1995) “The Concept of Law (Second Edition) by H.L.A. Hart,” Law Quarterly Review 111:519523.
McGee, Vann. (1998) “‘Kilimanjaro,”’ in Kazmi, Ali A., ed., Meaning and Reference (Calgary: University of Calgary Press).
McGee, Vann, and McLaughlin, Brian. (1995) “Distinctions without a Difference,” Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (Supp.):203251.
Mehlberg, Henrik. (1958) The Reach of Science Toronto: Toronto University Press), partly reprinted as “Truth and Vagueness,” in Rosanna Keefe and Peter Smith, eds., Vagueness: A Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996).
Moline, Jon. (1969) “Aristotle, Eubulides and the Sorites,” Mind 78, 311:393407.
Raffman, Diana. (1995) “Vagueness and Context-Relativity,” Philosophical Studies 81:4147.
Raffman, Diana. (2005) “How to Understand Contextualism about Vagueness: A Reply to Stanley,” Analysis 65.3:244248.
Rawls, John. (2001) Justice as Fairness (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press).
Russell, Bertrand. (1923) “Vagueness,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy and Psychology. 1:84–92, reprinted in Keefe, Rosanna and Smith, Peter, eds., Vagueness: A Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996).
Sainsbury, R.M. (1996) Concepts without Boundaries, Inaugural Lecture at King's College, London University (Nov. 6, 1990), reprinted in Keefe, Rosanna and Smith, Peter, eds., Vagueness: A Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).
Soames, Scott. (2008) “Interpreting Legal Texts: What Is, and What Is Not, Special about Legal Texts,” Philosophical Essays vol. 1 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
van Fraassen, Baas. (1966) “Singular Terms, Truth-Value Gaps and Free Logic,” Journal of Philosophy 63:481495.
Williamson, Timothy. (1994) Vagueness (London: Routledge).
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. (1953) Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell).

VAGUENESS, INTERPRETATION, AND THE LAW*

  • Ólafur Páll Jónsson (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed