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Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law$
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David Dyzenhaus and Malcolm Thorburn

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754527.001.0001

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On Constitutional Implications and Constitutional Structure

On Constitutional Implications and Constitutional Structure

(p.53) 3 On Constitutional Implications and Constitutional Structure
Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law

Aharon Barak

Oxford University Press

This chapter is concerned with the interpretation of written constitutions, arguing that the implied meaning of the text is as much a part of the constitution as its explicit meaning. The author argues that the implied meaning of a constitution need not follow the framers’ intent; originalism, intentionalism, and purposive interpretation are all possible ways of determining a constitution’s implied meaning. What is central on any account of constitutional implication, however, is an appreciation for the constitution’s structure. The chapter then examines some present-day constitutions, to explore implied meanings in practice. Finally, the author discusses the relationship between constitutional implication, semantics, and Grice’s view of pragmatics.

Keywords:   constitutional implication, constitutional structure, implied meaning, express meaning, originalism, intentionalism, purposive interpretation, Grice, semantics, pragmatics

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