Article/Publication Details

Semantics and Pragmatics of the Language in the Law

(Original title: Sémantické a pragmatické otázky jazyka právnych predpisov)
Filozofia, 2012, vol. 67, No 9, pp. 718-730.
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The author argues that the distinction between semantic and pragmatic aspects of the language in the statutory instruments is critical to the theory of juristic interpretation. He tries to define the nature of the legal norm, expressed or communicated by the lawgiver by enacting the particular law. Two sorts of pragmatic processes as articu lated by M. Zouhar in his book Meaning in context should be taken into account in interpreting the latter: the semantically relevant processes serving the elimination of semantic ambiguities and pragmatic processes participating in making law complete. The aim of the paper is to support the thesis that the elimination of semantic ambiguities means to determine the second layer of the meaning, i.e. the legal norm expressed by the normative utterance in the context of its use by the legislative body. By contrast, making law complete is based on inferring the third layer of meaning, i.e. an implicated legal norm.


Interpretation, Law, Legal norm, Meaning, Pragmatics, Proposition, Semantics

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