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Introduction: post-semantic interpretation

This book is about meaning in law. The question is how legal texts, for instance laws, statutes and regulations, can and do have meaning. It is argued here that an answer to this question compels us to think about ethics, but ethics itself is not the actual topic of this book. This is not a book about ethics and law but about legal interpretation. Nevertheless, it seems that thinking about meaning in law we are at some point necessarily directed to questions concerning ethics as well. Thus, the aim is not to discuss the complicated relationship between law and ethics or morality. Our primary interest is not the often debated question of whether law is fundamentally good or bad or the other classic problem of whether law and ethics are essentially distinct or overlapping fi elds. These issues are touched upon because of the openings that the problems of legal meaning lead to, but they are not the primary focus of the book.