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Interpretation in International Law$
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Andrea Bianchi, Daniel Peat, and Matthew Windsor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198725749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198725749.001.0001

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Is Interpretation in International Law a Game?

Is Interpretation in International Law a Game?

Chapter:
(p.352) 17 Is Interpretation in International Law a Game?
Source:
Interpretation in International Law
Author(s):

Ingo Venzke

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198725749.003.0017

The present chapter combines the ubiquitous metaphor of the language of international law with the analogy between interpretation and the playing of games. It argues that interpretation might not be well understood in analogy to games, not if the game is anything like the typical example of chess. In law, as in language, we make the rules as we go along. If that is so, how then can we still see interpretation as an ordered activity? A first answer fleshes out a view of interpretation as a creative practice in which actors struggle for the law. A second, more radical, alternative demonstrates how and why it might make sense to argue that there is no language to play with. Interpretation then aims at a better understanding of the speaker, not of any language of international law.

Keywords:   interpretation, language of international law, linguistics, sociolinguistics, semantic pragmatism, Donald Davidson

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