Textualism, Intentionalism, and the Law of the Contract

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Most philosophical discussions of the relation between language and the law have focused on the interpretation of public law enactments: statutes, constitutional provisions, and administrative regulations. This chapter focuses on the interpretation of contracts. It distinguishes several versions of textualism and intentionalism in the theory of contracts, and argues that versions of both views can be rendered broadly consistent with the main features of Anglo-American contract doctrine. The chapter also argues, in passing, that the correct account of the relation between contract language and the law of the contract cannot be settled by abstract philosophy, but is rather a matter of positive law which may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPhilosophical Foundations of Language in the Law
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191728914
ISBN (Print)9780199572380
StatePublished - Sep 22 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


  • Contract law
  • Intentionalism
  • Interpretation
  • Language
  • Textualism


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