In recent years, several legal theorists (Dan-Cohen 2002; Greenberg 2011; Hunt 2016; Marmor 2008, 2011a, 2011b, 2014) have claimed that legislators frequently engage in so-called double talk when enacting law. Double talk occurs when a speaker (or a group of speakers) deliberately communicates two different messages to two different audiences with a single utterance in order to deceive (one of) them about what the speaker means with this utterance. Legal theorists have argued that it will be indeterminate what is required by such legal rules because they allow for multiple interpretations. In my thesis I will apply the socio-linguistic analysis of double talk that has been provided by Herbert Clark (1992, 1996) in order to subject this argument to critical scrutiny. My hypothesis is that this analysis demonstrates that legal double talk will not lead to indeterminate laws because it allows to give priority to certain interpretations over others.
Faculteit der Filosofie, Theologie en Religiewetenschappen