This section is from the book "Science Of Legal Method", by Ernest Bruncken. Also available from Amazon: Science of Legal Method.
The fact that the discovery of the legislative will does not always mean the will of a concrete person cannot but exert an influence on the shaping of the methods by which this discovery is sought.
The basis of these methods is observation and logical consideration of an actual body of facts. Yet if we look more closely, we shall find that there are also tendencies to extend the legislative will to satisfy the needs of legal science, which desires a rule that will also cover all future cases and combinations of facts. By tendencies, or currents, I mean general and persistent directions of will which sometimes lead us to assume that the thing willed actually exists, by excluding from our minds the possibility of its non-existence. Such tendencies, therefore, influence our thinking so as to deviate from reality. We shall have to inquire whether such influences can be proven to exist within the methods of juridical thinking.
By using the term tendencies where I might perhaps have said principles, I substitute for the purely logical, a dynamic or psychological point of view. Thereby I shall gain all the advantages the latter has over the former, especially in the presentation of social relations. The very term "tendency" calls attention to the fact that the direction of will contained in such tendency may not necessarily materialize in all cases but may be kept down by other and stronger considerations and tendencies. On the other hand, we need not attempt a strict delimitation, such as by defining the cases when the tendency fails to materialize, and will yet be able to understand the matter.
Of the three methods of interpretation which are consciously practised by lawyers, to wit, the linguistic or grammatical, the systematic, and the historical, already noticed, the last two alone will be considered.
It is true that the most important part of interpretation is to determine the meaning of the words of the text according to the rules of grammar, so that the most important method is undoubtedly the grammatical, which is very properly emphasized by Thol.117 All the information and help the lawyer obtains from other sources, is a comparatively unimportant addition to the knowledge regarding the statute which he acquires by simply reading its text. I need but call attention to the uncertainty one feels if one knows a statute merely from some synopsis of it, no matter how skillfully made, without having read the text itself. We should add that the authority a statute properly enjoys also has something to do with the importance attaching to the grammatical method. To cling as closely as possible to the words of a statute is evidence of the respect due to it.
117 See also Jhering, "Zweck im Recht," vol. 2, p. 15.
Nevertheless, consideration of the grammatical or linguistic method will be omitted in the present connection, for the reason that our inquiry would become exceedingly complicated on account of the manifold extraneous influences to which linguistic usage is subject. Linguistic usage, it should be understood, very often constitutes nothing more than the form in which all sorts of tendencies enter into juridical thinking, some of which we shall have to take up in succeeding sections. Just this point may be mentioned, that grammatical interpretation shows the tendency of extending the will of the legislator as much as possible by the rule-no doubt a correct rule - that a word is not, ordinarily, to be taken in a mere partial, narrow meaning.
Next to the linguistic the systematic element is of the greatest importance in juridical thinking, while the historical element comes after this. The usual valuation of the two methods is just the opposite. The justification of the order adopted here will appear of itself below.