The main purpose of this essay is to show that the views about linguistic communication that make Textualism a plausible theory of what the law says, show why textualism is not nearly as helpful a theory of statutory interpretation as its proponents claim. The essay begins with a brief outline of what Textualism is, in light of its critique of Intentionalism and Purposivism; it then proceeds to explain the view of language, particularly asserted linguistic content, that is required to make sense of Textualism, and defends this view against a neo-Gricean critique; finally, the paper strives to show why those same ideas about determinants of communicated content help us to see that Textualism has very little to offer by way of a general theory of statutory interpretation.
Jurisprudence | Law | Legislation
Date of this Version
Andrei Marmor, "Textualism in Context" (July 2012). University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series. Working Paper 90.