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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Administering Interpretation
Author(s):
Peter GoodrichMichel Rosenfeld
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823283798.003.0001

Interpretation, according to Giambattista Vico, has its etymological roots in interpatrari, in mingling with or entering the discourse of the fathers. While the etymology is dubious, the concept is peculiarly applicable to legal interpretation, where the search for authority, for prior and precedent determinations, whether contained in a code or in judicial decisions, plays an inordinate role in the elaboration of meaning and the deciding of disputes. Whatever jurisdiction is in play, the assumption that underpins the task of interpreting legal texts is that there is an authority which will dictate and delimit the choice of the decision maker and ideally will stipulate a certain, which is to say indisputable, outcome. The conflict of legal interpretations is confined historically to disputes within an established corpus of authoritative texts within a monotheistic tradition of truth and in its corresponding juristic form of verdict, or statement of the truth....

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