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


8. The indicated transforming function of normative reality is effectively used in legal reasoning. In terms of a lawyer's professional everyday work legal reasoning is that which is concerned with the norms and other phenomena of law and with the facts of legal significance. According to that definition, the subject "law" is expressed in the form of significance of the fact, significance of the norm; generally speaking, of significance of the phenomenon. Therefore, we can at once refer to the characteristics of legal reasoning as interpretative reasoning. The explanation of such interpretative activity as is the lawyer's reasoning is to be sought in coming to know the notions in his mind, their possible specificity and mechanism of realization, stemming directly from, or to some degree conditioned by, the objects whose images they are. These are the legal forms as variants of transformation structures. Consequently, their representation in the lawyer's consciousness is also specific and must adequately be recognized and explained. The objects of these notions are precisely the concrete objects which "occasion" the lawyer's reasoning.

Legal reasoning is one of understanding; it interprets, explains and synthesizes, i.e. it gives rise to meaning. It interprets and makes meaningful signs (texts and other symbols) which fact determines its sign nature. It reasons and explicates which fact determines its logical character. There exists a functional link between its sign character and its logical one. Legal reasoning uses the logical principle of proportion __ as equality, or as similarity __ whenever it draws comparisons between individually manifested significances. It interprets propositions and their sequence through the semantics of legal concepts, technical terms and the words of the natural language. It draws parallels between the achieved interpretations and juxtaposes them. This characteristic of it determines interpretation as an invariable in its structure and semiosis.

In its structure legal reasoning is a complex system. Its elements are the logical, linguistic and legal interpretations which for their part interpret the elements of their own substructures, insofar as the latter are represented (objectivized). The system of legal reasoning functions through making meaningful the connections between the logical, linguistic and legal interpretations. As interpretation is always an invariable elementary structure, functional links are also interpreted. From the point of view of logic legal reasoning is the use of propositions in their interrelations in accordance with rules of validity, and from the point of view of semantics it is the defining of significances according to their relations with other significances in order to acquire importance. With the help of the conception of the thought-sign put forward by Peirce we can establish that the semantic substructures of legal reasoning are chains of significances which are connected functionally through their positional determination by certain interpretants while the logical ones are sequences of propositions whose formal validity is contained in some interpretant. Legal reasoning functions as a mechanism for comparing (a correlation of difference and similarity) and reference between the formally logical validity and semantic value of the thoughts as objects which are signs (which are represented), on the one hand, and __ on the other __ their interpretations: So that the connection (the bridge) of interpreting thought __ with __ interpreting thought is understood as a meaning by the succeeding interpretation. That is why, first, legal reasoning can realize the transformations of law as a phenomenon of re-signifying which includes the fact that it gives rise to them as legal transformations, and, second, to grasp them regardless of the crises or progress of traditional generalizations inherent in theoretical legal thought.

9. The objects of legal reasoning, viz., the legal phenomena, indicate themselves through the position they take in the phenomenal chain as representamina ["representamen" as sign according to Peirce] of these objects. The understanding of the signs is a process of interpreting their semiosis: the phenomenon-sign is interpreted by a thought which is an inalienable aspect of it. That thought is presented to consciousness as a sign; and that sign is interpreted by another thought. The achieved meaning is in the sequence itself and the understanding __ formally __ boils down to a transforming of the significance of one element in the sequence into a significance of the other element.

Re-signifying is an effect of the phenomenological method: two elements are linked in a sequence, their position in it is interpreted, and the result is something of a third kind __ an intermediary, making meaningful the legal transformation, __ through which one element "passes" into the position of the other element, i.e. the significance of one element is transformed into a significance of the other element.

Page - 1     Page + 1

AS/SA Nº 6/7, Article 7 : Page 6 / 11

© 1999, AS/SA

E-mail to the editors
Pour écrire à la rédaction