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Diverse Narratives of Legal Objectivity

An Interdisciplinary Perspective


Edited By Vito Breda and Lidia Rodak

This volume presents a collection of essays on objectivity in legal discourse. Has law a distinctive type of objectivity? Is there one specific type of legal objectivity or many, depending on the observatory language utilized? Is objectivity fit for law? The analyses in the various contributions show that the Cartesian paradigm of objectivity is not relevant to the current legal discourse, and new forms of legal objectivity are revealed instead. Each essay, in its distinctive way, analyses the strong commitment of law to objectivity, shedding light on the controversies that surround it.
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Marcin Pieniążek - 6. The objectivity of the legal text in view of the concept of semantic autonomy. Comments on Paul Ricoeur’s theory.


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Marcin Pieniążek

Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Poland

6. The objectivity of the legal text in view of the concept of semantic autonomy. Comments on Paul Ricoeur’s theory


The issue of the objective meaning of the legal text is of deep interest for the jurisprudence, inter alia, in the context of the issues of interpretation and application of law.1 The purpose of this article is to look at the analysed topic from the perspective of semantic autonomy of the text, introduced by Paul Ricoeur. The interconnection of the concepts of objectivity and autonomy is justified, among others, due to their definitional relationship, since the former stands for “the existence independent of the entity aiming at cognition”,2 while the latter – for “self-reliance and independence”.3 In turn, among the many definitions of the legal text, one should emphasise the one which proclaims that it is “a finite sequence of linguistic expressions, produced in the form provided by ← 113 | 114 → the author, legally empowered to law-making process, relatively complete and internally coherent, published in a legally regulated manner, whose primary illocutionary force4 is prescribing.”5

Ricoeur’s views, outlined below and developed on the border between hermeneutics and analytical philosophy of language,6 allow to overcome the impasse in the form of associating the objectivity of the legal text with its unambiguity, as practised in the “scientific jurisprudence”. It should be recalled that the methods of interpretation,...

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