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Philosophical Foundations of Language in the Law$
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Andrei Marmor and Scott Soames

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572380

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572380.001.0001

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Can the Law Imply More Than It Says? On Some Pragmatic Aspects of Strategic Speech

Can the Law Imply More Than It Says? On Some Pragmatic Aspects of Strategic Speech

(p.83) 5 Can the Law Imply More Than It Says? On Some Pragmatic Aspects of Strategic Speech
Philosophical Foundations of Language in the Law

Andrei Marmor

Oxford University Press

The standard model in the pragmatics literature focuses on ordinary conversations, in which the parties are presumed to engage in a cooperative exchange of information. The legal context offers an example of conversation that is strategic in nature. This chapter shows that the pragmatics of strategic conversation has certain features that deviate from the standard model. The first section focuses on two main instances of implied communicative content, namely, implicatures and utterance presuppositions. It argues that in both of these cases, there is an important distinction between implied content that is semantically encoded in the utterance — and therefore forms part of what the law communicatively determines — and implied content that is essentially contextual and thus much more problematic in the legal case. The second section focuses on the idea of pragmatic commitments and their normative foundations. The chapter explores the normative framework of strategic speech and ways in which it differs from ordinary conversations. Finally, it tries to explain in what sense legal speech is strategic, and demonstrate how the pragmatic aspects of strategic speech actually work in the legal context.

Keywords:   pragmatics, strategic speech, implicatures, presuppositions, pragmatics in law, semantically encoded implications, legal interpretation

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