To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Prescriptive rules guide human behavior across various domains of community life, including law, morality, and etiquette. What, specifically, are rules in the eyes of their subjects, i.e., those who are expected to abide by them? Over the last sixty years, theorists in the philosophy of law have offered a useful framework with which to consider this question. Some, following H. L. A. Hart, argue that a rule’s text at least sometimes suffices to determine whether the rule itself covers a case. Others, in the spirit of Lon Fuller, believe that there is no way to understand a rule without invoking its purpose — the benevolent ends which it is meant to advance. In this paper we ask whether people associate rules with their textual formulation or their underlying purpose. We find that both text and purpose guide people’s reasoning about the scope of a rule. Overall, a rule’s text more strongly contributed to rule infraction decisions than did its purpose. The balance of these considerations, however, varied across experimental conditions: In conditions favoring a spontaneous judgment, rule interpretation was affected by moral purposes, whereas analytic conditions resulted in a greater adherence to textual interpretations. In sum, our findings suggest that the philosophical debate between textualism and purposivism partly reflects two broader approaches to normative reasoning that vary within and across individuals.
There has been considerable debate in legal philosophy about how to attribute purposes to rules. Separately, within cognitive science, there has been a growing body of research concerned with questions about how people ordinarily attribute purposes. Here, we argue that these two separate fields might be connected by experimental jurisprudence. Across four studies, we find evidence for the claim that people use the same criteria to attribute purposes to physical objects and to rules. In both cases, purpose attributions appear to be governed not so much by original intention or by moral value as by current practice. We argue that these findings in the cognitive science of purpose attribution have implications for jurisprudential questions involving purposivist legal interpretation.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.