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Titolo Rivista: SOCIOLOGIA DEL DIRITTO  
Autori/Curatori: Francesco Galgano 
Anno di pubblicazione:  2009 Fascicolo: Lingua: Italiano 
Numero pagine:  15 P. 5-19 Dimensione file:  416 KB
DOI:  10.3280/SD2009-003001
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Metaphors can be found in every form of linguistic communication, including the language of precepts, such as that used in legal orders. It represents reality figuratively, equating similarity with identity, converting the "as if" into an "it is". Dante described a metaphor as the "truth that hides beneath a beautiful falsehood". A metaphor is generally harmless enough: nobody treats what is only a successful verbal device as if its success alone were enough to make it true. Nonetheless, it can be insidious: this is sometimes the case in legal language, when a metaphor attributes to an abstract entity a name that also belongs to something in the tangible world, thus moving beyond the realms of common sense. This leads to a risk that the metaphor will be taken seriously and mistaken for reality, as in the case of what has happened with legal persons, securities, intellectual property and so on. This does not mean that we should go to the opposite extreme, as some have done, that of outlawing a concept from our language as soon as its metaphorical nature is revealed. Metaphors are very often effective ways of summarising lengthy and complex verbal reasonings that could otherwise only be expressed in elaborate circumlocutions. The point is that, once this "hidden truth" is identified, the right way to proceed is to use the truth itself, rather than the "beautiful falsehood" that summarises it, for the purpose of drawing legal conclusions.



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Francesco Galgano, in "SOCIOLOGIA DEL DIRITTO " 3/2009, pp. 5-19, DOI:10.3280/SD2009-003001

   

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