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03/27/2022

Zachary Pohlman: Revisiting the Fried Chicken Recipe
Michael Ramsey

Zachary B. Pohlman (Independent) has posted Revisiting the Fried Chicken Recipe (98 Notre Dame Law Review Reflection (forthcoming 2022)) (14 pages) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Twenty-five years ago, Gary Lawson introduced us to legal theory’s tastiest analogy. He told us about a late-eighteenth century recipe for making fried chicken and how we ought to interpret it. Lawson’s pithy essay has much to be praised. Yet, even twenty-five years later, there remains more to be said about legal theory’s most famous recipe. In particular, there remains much more to be said about the recipe’s author, a person (or, perhaps, group of people) whom Lawson does not discuss. Lawson’s analysis of the recipe leads him to an “obvious” conclusion: the recipe’s meaning is its original public meaning. If we consider those who wrote the recipe and their joint act of recipe-writing, however, I question whether that conclusion remains so obvious. This Essay takes a closer look at the chefs who wrote the fried chicken recipe and their act of recipe-writing that produced it. I argue that the meaning of the fried chicken recipe is not its original public meaning but is rather the meaning the chefs intended the recipe to have, even on Lawson’s own terms.

The fried chicken paper is Gary Lawson, On Reading Recipes . . . and Constitutions, 85 Georgetown L.J. 1823 (1997).

Via Larry Solum at Legal Theory Blog, who comments: "Recommended.  Pohlman notes the crucial importance of what are called "second-order communicative intentions" in theoretical linguistics and the philosophy of language, although he does not use that terminology."