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Reappraising Political TheoryRevisionist Studies in the History of Political Thought$
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Terence Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198279957.001.0001

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Constitutional Interpretation: What's Wrong With ‘Original Intent’?

Constitutional Interpretation: What's Wrong With ‘Original Intent’?

(p.250) 11 Constitutional Interpretation: What's Wrong With ‘Original Intent’?
Reappraising Political Theory

Terence Ball (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes a fresh look at the interpretive strategy of `originalism’ or `original intent’ and shows that this strategy is defective for a number of heretofore unsuspected reasons. Chief among these is that a thoroughgoing originalism would require one to accept the once‐credible but now‐discredited or defunct theories and vocabularies within whose terms the Founders thought about politics and framed the Constitution.

Keywords:   American Founding, Hans‐Georg Gadamer, hermeneutics, interpretation, James Madison, original intent, US Constitution

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