His style made him distinctive. His substance made him distinctive. The two crossed, were genetically related as we now say. Style and substance each drew on and was implied by the other. One point of their crossing was his sense of the nature of human language; what language was and could be, what it was not and could never be. In 1930, early in his work, Fuller took up the problem of language in a series of articles. Toward the end of his time he republished this initial ground-establishing effort as the little book we now have, Legal Fictions, and wrote a new introduction to it. His concern with language as such, and with what a lawyer might be able to say to a linguist or a scientist about it, thus brackets his work. I propose to return to Legal Fictions, treating as something of a supplement to it The Law in Quest of Itself, which he also reissued in the mid-1960s and in which he pursued the problem of language into the jurisprudential arguments of the day. The rediscovery of the linguistic part of Fuller's contribution and of Fuller's challenge to look at language and see what it tells - if rediscovery it be rather than acknowledgment of influence - bears on current issues in law and beyond law, the importance of which lies not surprisingly in their connection to Fuller's substantive concerns.
Publication Information & Recommended Citation
Vining, Joseph. "Fuller and Language." In Rediscovering Fuller: Essays on Implicit Law and Institutional Design, edited by W. J. Witteveen and W. van der Burg, 453-78. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1999.