Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Language, Law And
Law and language are both instruments. Law is an instrument for social order, while language is an instrument for communication. Neither of these definitions begins to exhaust its subject; law has myriad uses, as does language. However, the definitions have prima facie aptness, as does the point that language has always had an indispensable and inevitable role in the way law achieves social order. Whatever else it may do, law employs rules to shape and constrain attitudes and conduct. Rules are framed in language. Whether one's disposition is positivistic, whereby one thinks of law in terms of power, coercion, and violence, or naturalistic, whereby one thinks of law as the vehicle for and expression of shared values and goals, the connection between law and rules, and therefore between law and language, is essential. For the positivist, rules backed by sanctions or promulgated by authoritative institutions are essential to law. For ...