Legal Interpretation: Towards a New Paradigm?

Bartosz Brożek


This paper considers the foundations of legal interpretation against the background of the theory of embodied cognition and mental simulation. It is argued that interpretation has a double, concrete-abstract nature. The understanding of concrete language is made possible by the mechanism of mental simulation. In turn, the interpretation of abstract language (and hence of most of legal language) requires to apply the procedures of exemplification, paraphrase and embedding. The relationship between these two modes of language comprehension is analyzed and the thesis is defended that they represent two extremes of a continuous spectrum rather than isolated mechanisms. Finally, the significance of such a conception of interpretation for legal methodology is considered. It is argued that the conception provides a unifying, foundational framework for any theory of legal interpretation, as well as generates fresh insights into the nature of understanding legal statutes.

Słowa kluczowe: interpretation, legal interpretation, embodied cognition, mental simulation, abstraction

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