Washington Law Review




Because much of modern philosophy has been preoccupied with some form of language analysis and because jurists often apply philosophical techniques and insights when attempting to solve jurisprudential problems, theories or views of the nature of language have considerable jurisprudential significance. The point is illustrated by the recent movement toward using the methods of "ordinary language" philosophy in the analysis of legal problems. The pattern is not new; a roughly similar relationship is seen in positivism and its application in jurisprudence. The notion behind this approach is that an understanding of the nature of language contributes to the solution of philosophical and jurisprudential problems. More precisely, the premise is that language and conceptual knowledge are closely related. The premise means that the jurist must have a correct view of language if he is going to use a theory of language to suggest and support jurisprudential conclusions. This does not, of course, mean that the conclusions are wrong if the theory of language proves wrong; there may be other supporting grounds.

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