This week the Legal Theory Lexicon entry focuses on "ambiguity" and "vagueness"–two important concepts for the theory of interpretation. Some legal texts are ambiguous–they can have two or more distinct meanings. And some legal texts are vague–they use concepts that have indefinite application to particular cases. And some legal texts are both vague and ambiguous–they have multiple meanings, some (or all) of which have indefinite applications. Because "vagueness" and "ambiguity" are basic concepts in the theory of interpretation, its important to master each of them and to understand the difference between them.
As always, this entry in the Legal Theory Lexicon is aimed at law students, especially first year law students, with an interest in legal theory.