Jeana Sharankova: "Semiotic Aspects of the Transformation of Legal Systems"


2. Thus, let us examine the basis for the explication of the semiosis of legal reasoning. First and foremost, is the conception of the Interpretant. Interpreting the logic of thinking in one of his earliest essays entitled "Some Consequences of Four Incapacities" (1st edition 1868), Peirce introduces the conception of Thought-Sign. He explains its semiosis in the following manner:

1) the Thought-Sign refers to the thought interpreting it;

2) it is a sign of a thought it contains (so-called by him subsequent thought), interpreting it, and

3) it is a sign in the relation, which is thought as an immediate object of the mind.

These are the three references of the Thought-Sign:

The contained (subsequent) thought is equivalent to the object it refers to. Since this object is represented as a sign, the contained thought would appear as the Interpretant in the sign for that object.

For its part, the interpreting thought is an object of a meta-thought for it in the Thought-Sign and that meta- thought is an Interpretant of the Thought-Sign which links the latter with other thoughts in the stream of consciousness: in the stream of consciousness the Interpretant of the object will be interpreted by the next thought- interpretant, and so on.

The interpreter of a sign is a real object; it is not an individual person but the thought, interpreting the sign, itself. The sign is a thing, representing another thing to someone in some relation or quality. In the mind of that someone the sign creates an equivalent sign which is called the Interpretant of the first sign. The Interpretant is the thought, interpreting that sign. When we think, no matter to what thought this Thought-Sign refers, this is always interpreted by our next thought. Thus, a thought gives rise to another thought: thought follows thought to reach meaning. It is the Interpretants that perform the functioning of thinking which has a sign character. Proceeding from the above-indicated conceptions, the structure and phenomenology of legal reasoning can be clarified (See point 8.).

3. In the positivist paradigm the legal phenomenon becomes a pivotal concept in the legal theory: the meta- juridical questions concerning meaning are reduced and the phenomena are described of the operation of law, of "that which appears", of the diverse aspects and manners of appearance. Therefore, each positivist theory claims to be a methodology: interpreting law and explicating its phenomenon. The phenomenology of law poses before law thinking the requirement for adequacy between the series of legal manifestations and the series of interpretations.

The system understanding of law, both as a heritage from the era of rationalism where law is built upon a formal principle, regardless of whether it is based upon justice or is a system of positive law; and as a heritage from the development of sociology, in accordance with the theories of social action whereby law was embedded as a subsystem within the system of society, pose the problem of identification of law in every element or manifestation of its structure, the questions of differentiating between them as well as of the very organization of structuring and restructuring. Thus naturally arises the need for a phenomenology or a method of knowledge of the rule (the measure) of linking in a number of series the structural units of the system of law and hence __ the subsystems of its apparatus of categories or its manifestations. This leads us to the necessity of explicating the transformations in law.

Two conceptions, allowing theorization correlative to semantics, will lead us to explanation we look for: one is the structural theory of transformation and the textual varieties within the legal universe; the other is the conception of the interpretation as an invariant structure within the system of legal reasoning and its self- sufficiency for explicating the semiosis.

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AS/SA Nº 6/7, Article 7 : Page 2 / 11

© 1999, AS/SA

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