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Yale Law Journal


The pragmatic method is primarily a method of settling metaphysical disputes that otherwise might be interminable. Is the world one or many?- fated or free? - material or spiritual? - here are notions either of which may or may not hold good of the world; and disputes over such notions are unending. The pragmatic method in such cases is to try to interpret each notion by tracing its respective practical consequences. What difference would it practically make to any one if this notion rather than that notion were true? A Concise Statement of the Task: In interpreting a statute a court should: Decide what purpose ought to be attributed to the statute and to any subordinate provision of it which may be involved; .... It should assume, unless the contrary unmistakably appears, that the legislature was made up of reasonable persons pursuing reasonable purposes reasonably.

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