The Dream of Interpretation

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University of Miami Law Review, Vol: 57, Page: 685-726

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Farley, Anthony P.
interpretation of the law; legal conventions; legal tradition; legal institutions; legal reasoning; legal rules; modernism; Wittgenstein; Freud; Kant; Foucault; Law and Society; Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility; Legal Writing and Research
article description
For any given rule, there are infinite interpretations. Yet law and interpretation are inseparable. Interpretation is a complex process, based on murky forces, exposed to some extent in institutions, habits and conventions, which are often poorly understood even by the person charged with the act of interpreting. The article deconstructs—through a series of improvisations on logic, reason, rules, duty, desire, repetition, enchantment, symptom and sin—the dream of interpreting law. Drawing on Wittgenstein, Freud, Kant, Foucault and others from the pantheon of modernism, the article ruminates on the endless prospect of interpretation and the possibility of discord.