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10/06/2020

Scott Soames: To What Should Originalists be Faithful
Michael Ramsey

Scott Soames (USC - Philosophy) has posted To What Should Originalists be Faithful (17 pages) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The paper develops a speech act model of linguistic communication with a public derivability constraint on asserted content that applies both to individual and collective speaker-hearers. The model employs concepts from contemporary philosophy of language that allows us to distinguish ambiguity, vagueness, semantic incompleteness, and semantic under-specificity from one another and to apply standard legal and non-legal practices to resolve the resulting interpretive issues. The resulting enrichment of originalist resources allow us to replace original intentions, original expected applications, and original public linguistic meaning in context with original asserted content as that to which originalists must ultimately be faithful. The importance of this move is illustrated by the interpretations of well known statutory and constitutional provisions it makes possible.