The Vicissitudes of The Hermeneutic Paradigm in The Study of Law: Tradition, Forms of Life and Metaphor
Legal hermeneutics carries the hallmark of a genuine scientific paradigm. It is the locus of professional commitment, that is, a generally accepted view about the nature of legal adjudication. But as any genuine paradigm, legal hermeneutics also eludes the production of its full interpretation or rationalisation. Although most lawyers and legal scholars feel compelled to employ some standard set of methods, this consensus does not imply an underlying body of rules and assumptions that fully accounts for legal praxis and legal research. The paradigm of legal hermeneutics, flourishing on the level of legal praxis, is itself a subject of different schools of thought. This article explores different theories of law, sparked off by philosophical and legal hermeneutics. It argues that some of the weaknesses of hermeneutics are remedied by speech act theory. It discusses the increasing scientific interest in the role of metaphor in human thought and emphasises the import of the study of legal metaphor, which is inseparable from culture and tradition, for the study of law.