Bringing together leading academics hailing from different cultural and scholarly horizons, this book revisits legal hermeneutics by making particular reference to philosophy, sociology and linguistics. On the assumption that theory has much to teach law, that theory motivates and enables, the writings of such intellectuals as Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Paul Ricœur, Giorgio Agamben, Jürgen Habermas, Ronald Dworkin and Ludwig Wittgenstein receive special consideration. As it explores the matter of reading the law and as it inquires into the emergence of meaning within the dynamic between reader and text against the background of the reader’s worldly finiteness, this collection of essays wishes to contribute to an improved appreciation of the merits and limits of law’s hermeneutics which, it argues, is emphatically not to be reduced to a simple tool for textual exegesis.

part I|72 pages

A matrix

chapter 1|23 pages

Heidegger’s hermeneutics 1

chapter 2|14 pages

Understanding the other

A Gadamerian view on conceptual schemes 1

chapter 4|17 pages

The interpretation of foreign law

How germane is Gadamer?

part II|50 pages


chapter 5|17 pages

Ricœur’s legal hermeneutics

Mapping the non-place of critique

chapter 7|12 pages

Taking stories seriously

The place of narrative in legal interpretation

part III|74 pages


chapter 9|24 pages

Derrida’s Gadamer

chapter 11|18 pages

Law’s disappearance

The state of exception and the destruction of experience

part |24 pages