Taking Context Seriously

  • Pierluigi Chiassoni
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 128)


The present chapter purports to add a second line of argument in favour of a construction conception of legal meaning. This will be done by casting light on the shortcomings of moderate interpretive cognitivism (“semantic formalism”, “semantic quasi-cognitivism”, the “vigil orthodoxy”), on the one side, while making the case stronger for a variety of realism, “pragmatic realism” (“pragmatic non-cognitivism”), along the game-pragmatic approach put to work in the previous chapter, on the other side. The argument will proceed in three steps. The first step outlines semantic formalism and pragmatic realism. The second step offers a bird-eye account of the dispute between literalism and contextualism in contemporary philosophy of language and linguistics. The third, and last, step pauses to reflect on what instruction a jurist concerned with legal meaning and legal interpretation could get out of the dispute between literalism and contextualism. It will be claimed that the dispute provides substantive suggestions for getting rid of semantic formalism, and endorsing a (more) sophisticated, meaning construction version of pragmatic realism.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierluigi Chiassoni
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di GiurisprudenzaUniversità di GenovaGenovaItaly

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