Interpretation by Another Name

The Function of Rechtsfindung in the Modern State
  • Morigiwa YasutomoEmail author
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 95)


This chapter hopes to provide an explanation of the relationship between judicial interpretation, and interpretation in general. To this end, interpretation is described as a process of augmenting knowledge. Interpretation is never-ending, due to the peculiar property of the medium in which understanding is cultivated: language. In order to use language, we focus on that which we are discussing, and not the particular words that we use. The sign, or the aspect of language which represents any given thing or idea, is transparent when what is represented is present in our consciousness. When what is represented is not clear, the sign is no longer transparent and presents itself as an enigma requiring interpretation. Interpretation thus initiates the augmentation of knowledge. It therefore follows that the interpretive process of reason-giving is the search for knowledge. When norms and reasons give public validity to a claim, we have knowledge, and the sign becomes transparent once again. It is precisely this power of language to change between transparency and opacity that makes knowledge possible. This power of language, through active and passive processes, reveals a hidden infinity of what can be known. Hence, the process of knowing is an infinite one. Whereas interpretations retain truth as their regulative public value, judicial interpretation rests upon the idea of justice.


Public Good Legal Norm Public Reason Legal Authority Social Contract Theorist 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Law, Nagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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