29 July 2014

ARTICLE: Mootz on Hermeneutics and Law

Francis J. Mootz IIIFrancis Joseph Mootz's 'Hermeneutics and Law', to be included in N Keane and C Lawn (eds), The Blackwell Companion to Hermeneutics is available on SSRN:
This chapter will appear in a forthcoming book on hermeneutics. After providing a hermeneutical phenomenology of legal practice that locates legal interpretation at the center of the rule of law, the chapter considers three important hermeneutical themes:

(1) the critical distinction between a legal historian writing aboout a law in the past and a judge deciding a case according to the law;

(2) the reinvigoration of the natural law tradition against the reductive characteristics of legal positivism by consturing human nature as hermeneutical; and

(3) the role of philosophical hermeneutics in grounding critical legal theory rather than serving as a quiescent acceptance of the status quo, as elaborated by reconsidering the famous exchanges between Gadamer, Ricoeur and Habermas.

I argue that these three important themes are sufficient to underwrite Gadamer's famous assertion that legal practice has exemplary status for hermeneutical theory. 

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