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The Nature of Legal InterpretationWhat Jurists Can Learn about Legal Interpretation from Linguistics and Philosophy$
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Brian G. Slocum

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226445021

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226445168.001.0001

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The Continued Relevance of Philosophical Hermeneutics in Legal Thought

The Continued Relevance of Philosophical Hermeneutics in Legal Thought

(p.88) Chapter Four The Continued Relevance of Philosophical Hermeneutics in Legal Thought
The Nature of Legal Interpretation

Frank S. Ravitch

University of Chicago Press

This chapter suggests that Gadamerian Heremeneutics remain relevant to descriptive understandings of law, and that the phenomena of dasein and interpretive horizons can be concretely demonstrated when we explore different legal and cultural systems. Of course, one need not learn a different legal system and culture to experience the impact of interpretive horizons and dasein. We experience these phenomena all the time whether we realize it or not. Yet my experience with Japanese culture and law has reconnected me with Gadamerian hermeneutics and fostered a better understanding of the need for a descriptive understanding of interpretation. Without a descriptive understanding of interpretation it is harder to effectuate normative approaches.

Keywords:   Gadamer, legal interpretation, constitutional interpretation, statutory interpretation, Japanese legal interpretation

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