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The New Metaphysics: The Interpretive Turn in Jurisprudence
Iowa Law Review (1991)
  • Stephen M. Feldman, University of Wyoming
A debate between realists and antirealists has characterized western metaphysics. While metaphysical realists ground existence on an objective world, antirealists ground existence on a thinking subject and human culture. The argument in jurisprudence, as elsewhere, is that either we are capable of objective knowledge or we are doomed to free-floating subjectivism. We demand the impossible -- absolute objectivity -- to avoid the catastrophic -- unconstrained subjectivity. The interpretive turn attempts to move beyond this insoluble dilemma, the either/or of objectivity and subjectivity. Thus, in jurisprudence, the interpretive turn is well worth taking if only because it offers the possibility of transcending realism and antirealism. Professor Michael S. Moore, however, recently has called into question the jurisprudential worth of the interpretive turn. In his article, The Interpretive Turn in Modern Theory: A Turn for the Worse?, Moore argues that the defining characteristic of interpretivism is a rejection of all metaphysics. Thus, according to Moore, interpretivism renders all metaphysical debate irrelevant to modern jurisprudence, including debate between realists and antirealists. Moore concludes by rejecting the interpretive turn because, in his opinion, it rejects all metaphysics, including realism and antirealism. The thrust of this Article is that philosophical hermeneutics does not reject all metaphysics, but instead rejects the traditional subject-object metaphysics of Cartesianism.
  • realism,
  • antirealism,
  • western metaphysics,
  • interpretivism,
  • jurisprudence
Publication Date
Citation Information
Stephen M. Feldman. "The New Metaphysics: The Interpretive Turn in Jurisprudence" Iowa Law Review Vol. 76 (1991)
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