My New Paper!

Steven Jamar stevenjamar at
Sun May 17 12:42:16 PDT 2009

1. Law uses language. It is not just language.
2. Language is not controlled by anthropology.

Sent from Steve Jamar's iPhone

On May 17, 2009, at 2:18 PM, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505 at> wrote:

> ... Hi Chris.
> I think I'm going to develop a section in my paper in future drafts  
> to deal with this objection. Let me just throw these thoughts out.  
> (They need explained better I'm sure).
> The view that I think you are presenting is whether a generation can  
> inculcate its culture to others by resorting to a constitutional  
> formalism (as opposed to using ordinary language). The idea would be  
> something like this. Hypothetically, a constitution is passed and  
> someone sticks in a kicker that says: "NOTICE: all of these words in  
> this document actually only mean how the 1787 culture elects to  
> behave under them. Therefore, all the fairness words and general  
> words and family resemblances actually only say what specifically  
> transpires in the choices made at or about 1787." Let us call this  
> the Fine Print Clause (FPC).
> A couple of comments:
> 1. Article VI of our current Constitution cannot be said to say this  
> unless, perhaps, one were to indulge originalist orthodoxy -- which  
> is to say, unless one commits a language fallacy. For the framers to  
> have made Article VI a true FPC, they would have had to specifically  
> say it. (Sort of like those insurance policy clauses that take the  
> rug out from under you. You know, "if God does it, we don't pay").
> 2. I also don't see how any semanticist of the framing period could  
> ever say that Article VI can become an FPC by a generation's  
> protocol election. Making the constitution supreme law in a federal  
> system and swearing fealty to it only means that its language rules  
> over other legal language in the American legal system (states), and  
> that brains must do what the language "says." (Please note that I  
> downloaded three of your papers but have not read the one about  
> Article VI. I'm grading exams today, but I have plans for reading it  
> this week. In fact, given what I see you are saying about equal  
> protection, I think I'm going to add a Chris Green chapter to this  
> project soon. Your arguments clearly need addressed.)
> 3. Hypothetically, if our Constitution had an FPC, there would be no  
> real difference between this and a constitution that had simply said  
> in a one sentence document, "the customs, traditions, ways, mores  
> and rules of 1787 shall be the supreme way of life until this  
> document is amended." I ask that you consider the arguments I make  
> in Chapter 2, Part IV of my manuscript. Ask yourself whether a  
> document that did this would really be "a constitution."  Because it  
> seems like it would take on a radically different function in  
> sociology. Its essential purpose would be to sanctify and celebrate  
> the transmission of culture rather than to pass "laws." The  
> constitution would become a sacrament. Imagine what reality would be  
> like if 1787 culture really did try to be like the Amish, only using  
> the style of a celebratory document enshrined in democratic ritual.  
> Sociology would say this sort of "legalism" is only different in  
> STYLE from simply going out in a field to sacrifice an animal or  
> cutting the hand with a knife in order to show "blood brothers."
> Look, you have to ask yourself whether you agree with these premises:
> (1) Law is language.
> (2) Language meaning is governed by anthropology.
> (3) The anthropology of language is governed by cognition (language  
> means how brains process it).
> (4) Brains process most words as clusters. (Hail to Ludwig!).
> (5) Words that do not function as clusters are things like names,  
> ostension, scientific jargon, tautological jargon, etc.
> (6) Most constitutional sentences use cluster words.
> (7) To comply with them, you need to select protocol.
> (9) The protocol is not the meaning of the word (see (4)).
> Chris, where is the error?
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
> Assistant Professor
> Wright State University
> New Website:
> Daily Visitors:
> SSRN papers:
> Find Wilson!:
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