The Law is a specialised kind of writing. Just as biblical scholars can make great claims for their texts, so to can Lawyers. As a lawyer Bentham counselled close study of language. The theory of fictions was Bentham's answer to the question of sense and significance. Bentham's used a two-sided method of definition, by archetypation and by paraphrasis, which rooted the meaning of words in experience and found sense in propositional utterings rather than in isolated words. His main discovery being there is no sense outside of proposition. His claims are not quite the same as biblical scholars claims because he was a dull fellow who had no time for muses, inspirations or ghosts behind the words. When he goes towards a definition of rights (nonsense on stilts being my favourite phrase from himself) he defines it in such a manners as to be merely the meaning of the will of the legislator. That is, the whole of the law is Will through language. That is not precisely the same kind of basis as the Harry Potter Books, but it places legislation in a specialised kind of fiction. Monday, October 15, 2007 2:51 PM Gareth M/66 Thunder Bay, , CA
Bentham used a two-sided method of definition, by archetypation and by paraphrasis. Yes, and I am working my way through that. Ogden alludes that it may be a method of doing philosophy. But in the meantime here are two more quotes:
But now that the linguistic foundations of jurisprudence are urgently in need of orthological scrutiny, while the profundities of philosophy are resolving themselves into grammatical and psychological misunderstandings, the time is ripe for a readjustment of historical values.And from Bentham (page 70):
Language is the sign of thought, an instrument for the communication of thought from one mind to another.
Language is the sign of thought, of the thought which is in the mind of him by whom the discourse is uttered.
It may be the sign of other things and other objects in infinite variety, but of this object it is always a sign, and it is only through this that it becomes the sign of any other object.
- Lawyers claim that they are a part of a 'justice' system.
- Disciples claim that they have received 'true' knowledge from their master.
- Scientists claim that their methods lead to 'true' knowledge.
- Teachers claim that they can actually 'teach' something.
These four claims are metaphysical claims and are based on 'fictions'
### Wednesday, October 17, 2007 11:53 AM unamused scuttled animist M/38 UK
I think it is not actually off track to place Bentham into his historical context. His ideas spread out to a good deal more than he is given credit for. I think Bentham makes an important claim that points towards "fiction" being more than a useful label for "a story". Such a claim might ground things in an "ontological fiction". If ontological bits and bobs are, in any way, discernable, then "ontological fiction" surely underpins fiction (in a general sense and a Benthamite sense) in a more powerful way than merely "made up stories". Which does point to Benthams line of enquiry as being central to some suprising descendants.