The Unlimited Interpretation

In the essay, the idea of the unlimited interpretation is expressed by seven theses: fi ve descriptive and two normative. First, it is argued that legal interpretation is neither a paradigmatic nor a special case of interpretation in general. Second, it is claimed that interpretation has no a priori determinable limits. Third, the thesis is defended that all correctly formulated and applied methods of interpretation are equal. Further – fourth – it is argued that interpretation can be understood only as applied to particular cases. In other words, interpretation is a practice – the notion of interpretation as a 'pure theory' is empty. Fifth, it is postulated that interpretation should involve a 'critical moment'; without critical appraisal interpretation remains a pure theoretical construct hanging in vacuum. Sixth, interpretation should be axiologically open, if it is to remain a 'free activity'. Finally – seventh – it is claimed that the presented account of interpretation may help in avoiding 'deadly sins' of standard philosophies of interpretation: the sin of supremacy (of one theory of interpretation over the others); the sin of universality (of the preferred model of interpretation); the sin of objectivity (of the rules of interpretation); and the sin of inapplicability (of the theoretical models in legal practice).

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