“Plain meaning in context”: The video(s)

Videos of the symposium I wrote about in the previous post are available here, and having watched parts of it, I don’t feel as bad about missing it.

While Richard Epstein’s keynote address was interesting, it didn’t seem to me to have much to do with what the symposium was supposed to be about, and I’m at a loss to see more than the most tangential connection between what Epstein said and how his talk was described in advance. I didn’t hear any argument “that the underlying linguistic problems should drive the analysis” or that trying “to tailor rules of interpretation to institutional settings” would “detract [from] understanding how and why language works.” I don’t go to a lot of law-school symposia—I’m just a simple country lawyer—so maybe it was naive of me to expect that the program that was actually presented would reasonably approximate what was described in advance.

On the “generalist panel” Scott Soames’s presentation laid out his theory of legal interpretation but didn’t really engage with the topic until the Q&A period. Larry Solan’s presentation didn’t have that problem, but he didn’t say anything I wasn’t already familiar with from his work. (Again, was I naive to expect otherwise?) I have to confess that I haven’t watched Peter Tiersma’s presentation yet, because I’m assuming that it will cover the same ground as his paper that I linked to previously.

Things started to come alive in the Q&A period after this panel, but because of time limitations it ended too soon.

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