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Legislation as commitment – a defence of the ‘Standard Picture’ of statutory law on the basis of a commitment-based theory of communication

Shardimgaliev, M. (2022) Legislation as commitment – a defence of the ‘Standard Picture’ of statutory law on the basis of a commitment-based theory of communication. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00114186


According to the Standard Picture of how law works, the content of the law that is created by legal texts such as statutes and constitutional provisions is determined by the meaning of these texts. Most proponents of this picture claim more specifically that the relevant notion of meaning in play is the communicative content of legal texts and that communicative content is itself determined by considerations of the intentions of legal authorities. In recent years, the Standard Picture has become the subject of heated philosophical debate. Focusing on statutes as the paradigmatic type of legal texts, this thesis aims to contribute to this debate in two central ways. First, it argues that the aforementioned ‘intention-based’ versions of the Standard Picture lack convincing responses to three important objections that have been raised by critics. First, they lack an adequate account of how legislative bodies can be reasonably ascribed the intentions that they would need according to such versions. Second, they fail to explain important aspects of legal practice. Third, they provide at best a parochial theory of the content of the law that is generated by statutes. The second contribution is to provide a more sustained defence of the Standard Picture by developing a new ‘commitment-based’ version of this view. This version is based on an alternative theory of communication and claims that communicative content is not determined by considerations of intentions but rather by the commitments that are incurred by means of communicative acts. It is argued that this version can deal with the objections that have been raised by critics and therefore provides a more robust version of the Standard Picture.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Borg, E. and Kyritsis, D.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Philosophy
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:114186


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