Meaning and Legal Interpretation

Intentionalism as an approach to meaning and interpretation has had considerable impact on jurisprudence and legal hermeneutics. The intentionalist theory holds that an utterance’s meaning is determined by its communicative intentions, which not only provides a plausible account of meaning, but an approach to interpretation that aligns itself as comfortably with normative legal conceptions as with other forms of empirical explanation. In the words of American legal philosopher Michael Moore, an intentionalist account ‘causes no ripples in the smooth waters of science’. By exploring the philosophical underpinnings to the common law and civil law methods of doctrinal analysis and legal interpretation, Professor Poscher’s presentation will be of great interest to Max Planck Law researchers looking to better understand how legal meaning is reconstructed dialectically within the structure of the intentionalist framework, and why and how legal interpretation must reach beyond its boundaries.

Legal Research Methods is an Initiative of Max Planck Law and this event is part of its 2023 programme. Find out more.

Professor Dr Ralf Poscher is a Director (Public Law) at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law .

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