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The notion of legal discourse is used in many studies as a tool or a frame meant to understand various European legal issues. Yet, the fragmentation and multiplicity of the researches (semiotics, philosophy of language, linguistics, and legal theory) hinders a more comprehensive approach to the subject. Indeed, the logic of legal discourse raises problems that have been addressed so far only in a superficial and piecemeal manner, either by philosophy of law or legal theory. There lacks a systematic and pluridisciplinary study of legal language, capable of integrating all the different relevant remarks into a more general frame. This project is aimed precisely at giving a new, rigorous definition of legal discursivity. Its ambition and originality is to integrate various disciplines and authors of different national traditions in an interdisciplinary approach, in which philosophy plays a key role. Bringing together contemporary semiotics, linguistics and legal theory into a philosophical perspective, this research intends to help constitute a new frame of reflection for legal language and rationality. By excavating its philosophical basis, and unveiling its legal particularities, this investigation bestows the vague notion of legal discourse with the precise and operational dimension of a true concept. Such inquiry will in fact give an illuminating insight into most of the relevant logical remarks pervading contemporary legal theory. This research shall particularly focus on Ricoeur and Habermas’ works, whose disagreements have not been systematically explored by the literature so far. Since their respective reflections on justice and legal theory are logically related to a very consistent philosophy of language, confronting their work is indeed the best way to understand the current difficulties in discourse theory identified by contemporary legal philosophy.

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Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50
1050 Bruxelles

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Jean-Marc Ferry (Prof.)
EU contribution
€ 164 886,60