Philosophy:Open texture

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Short description: Philosophical term introduced by Friedrich Waismann

Open texture is a term in the philosophy of Friedrich Waismann, first introduced in his paper Verifiability to refer to the universal possibility of vagueness in empirical statements.[1] It is an application of some of the ideas of posited by Ludwig Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations, particularly Section 80.[2] The concept has become important in criticism of verificationism and has also found use in legal philosophy.

In legal philosophy, open texture reinforces the notion that vagueness is an inevitable feature of legal languages.[3] Legal philosophers who subscribe to Waismann's view believe that such "vagueness" solves the conceptual confusions of ordinary language.[3] According to H.L.A. Hart, for instance, language in legal rules has open texture and that recognizing this view would lead to better policy outcomes.[2] Another interpretation also cited that open texture is closely related to the concept of "unforeseen contingencies" in the economic field.[4]


  1. Friedrich Waismann, Verifiability (1945), p.2
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tiersma, Peter Meijes; Tiersma, Peter; Solan, Lawrence (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 149. ISBN 9780199572120. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Urbina, Sebastián (2002). Legal Method and the Rule of Law. The Hague: Kluwer Law International. pp. 81. ISBN 9041118705. 
  4. Ronzitti, Giuseppina (2011). Vagueness: A Guide. Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 129. ISBN 9789400703742.