Alexandra Arapinis, Laboratory for Applied Ontology (ISCT-CNR), and Angela Condello, University of Rome III, Department of Law, have published The Intensionality Behind Legal Concepts and Their Extensional Boundaries: Between Conventionalism and Interpretivism at 29 Ratio Juris 439 (2016). Here is the abstract.
This article constitutes an attempt to reexamine a crucial issue of legal theory from the perspective of philosophy of language and of social ontology: by analyzing a jurisprudential case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, we explain how Searle's account on rules in The Construction of Social Reality constitutes an important starting point for the clarification of the old jurisprudential debate between conventionalism and interpretivism. In a nutshell, we show that Searle's framework, while strictly conventionalist, makes it possible to conceive of the distinction between the semantic content of rules (their intended purpose) and their extension, by drawing a parallel with the idea of “deep conventions” (and “essential rules”) as well as with the semantic conventions in natural language. The paper thus touches on the broader problem of the relations between legal concepts and nonlegal values (law and morality).The text of the article is not available from SSRN.