Language, Meaning and the Law

Language, Meaning and the Law

By: Chris Hutton (author)Hardback

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Language, Meaning and the Law offers an accessible, critical guide to debates about linguistic meaning and interpretation in relation to legal language. Law is an ideal domain for considering fundamental questions relating to how we assign meanings to words, understand and comment on texts, and deal with socially and ideologically significant questions of interpretation. The book argues that theoretical issues of concern to linguists, philosophers, literary theorists and others are illuminated by the demands of the legal context, since law is driven by the need for practical solutions and for determinate outcomes based on explicit reasoning. Topics covered include: the relationship of linguistics to legal theory, indeterminacy and statutory interpretation, the theory and practice of using dictionaries in law, defamation and language in the public sphere, and the distinction between perjury and deception. This book does not assume specialist knowledge of the field, and is designed as a self-contained, advanced introduction to a fascinating area of study. The reader will gain an overall insight into issues and debates about meaning and interpretation, as well as an understanding of how these questions are shaped by the legal context. Features: *Concise introduction to the study of linguistic meaning and its role within legal theory *Exercises and materials for classroom discussion, workshops etc. *Guide to further reading.

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About Author

Chris Hutton is Professor in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong. He holds a BA (1980) and a DPhil from Oxford University (1988), an MA from Columbia University (1985), and recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in English and Hong Kong Laws (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2007). His publications include Linguistics and the Third Reich (Routledge, 1999), Race and the Third Reich (Polity Press, 2005), and Language, Law and Definition (with R. Harris, Continuum, 2007).


Preface: The Scope of the Book; Introduction: Parables of Language and Law; PART I: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS; 1. Legal Theory and Language; 1.1 Natural law and legal positivism; 1.2 Formalism and realism; 1.3 Liberal rule of law ideology; 1.4 Radical approaches to law; 1.5 Marxism; 1.6 Critical Legal Studies; 1.7 Critical Race Theory; 1.8 Right-radical approaches to law; 1.9 Law and economics; 1.10 Luhmann v Habermas: autopoiesis and law; 1.11 Conclusion; 2. Systems Theory, Normativity and the 'Realist Dilemma'; 2.1 Introduction; 2.2 Description and prescription in linguistics; 2.3 Language as system; 2.4 Linguistics and systems theory; 2.5 Linguistics: 'not for turning?'; 2.6 Reflexivity, ethnomethodology, and systems theory; 2.7 Conclusion; 3. Philosophy, Law and Language; 3.1 Introduction; 3.2 Philosophy, language and social order; 3.3 The linguistic turn in philosophy as a turn to law; 3.4 The social contract of language; 3.5 Time and the framing of rules; 3.6 Conclusion; 4. Issues in Legal Interpretation; 4.1 Authority and interpretation; 4.2 Dilemmas of legal interpretation; 4.3 The 'literal', 'golden' and 'mischief' rules; 4.4 Policy as an interpretative tool; 4.5 Equitable interpretation; 4.6 Conclusion; PART II: SELECTED TOPICS; 5. Literal Meaning, the Dictionary and the Law; 5.1 Introduction; 5.2 Literal meaning, dictionaries and law; 5.3 Textualism in US jurisprudence; 5.4 Dictionaries and linguists; 5.5 Conclusion; 6. Representation, Reproduction and Intention; 6.1 T-shirts and triads; 6.2 Genuine fakes: the counterfeit artist; 6.3 Taboo language and 'images that wound'; 6.4 Conclusion: who is to blame?; 7. Idols of the Market; 7.1 Introduction: signs in circulation; 7.2 Trademark law; 7.3 Conclusion: trademarks and the commodification of the public sphere; PART III: KEY ISSUES; 8. Insider Judges And Outsider Critics; 9. Hard Cases And Ideal Interpreters; 10. The Judge As Tennis Umpire; 11. The Golden Mean?; 12. Reflexivity And Garfinkel's Dystopia Of Reasons; 13. The Single Meaning Rule And Defamation Law; PART IV; 14. Conclusion: The Semiotics of Law, Language and Money; Appendices: Discussion Materials and Exercises; Further Reading; References; Legal Cases Cited.

Product Details

  • publication date: 15/01/2009
  • ISBN13: 9780748633500
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 256
  • ID: 9780748633500
  • weight: 514
  • ISBN10: 0748633502

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