Chapter 12: Do Words Matter? A Discussion on Words used to Designate Values Associated with Competition Law
Paul Nihoul* 6 In this volume, we are discussing values. Among these values, some are attached to the rules of competition currently in force. Others could be regarded as possible or even desirable principles for future competition policies. To designate these values, we use words. The issue raised in this chapter is whether, and to what extent, these words are ‘neutral’: do they merely act as transparent conducts referring to the values they are supposed to name or do they do more – and if so, what? The chapter is structured as follows. First, we discuss difficulties inherent to a language-related analysis of the type envisaged here. Second, we expose the method proposed to develop the investigation. Third, we analyse three words which, in our perception, play a central role in the communication of the European Commission as regards competition. In the conclusion, we identify features emerging from the discussion. Before starting the chapter, it should be emphasized that the investigation set forth here is ongoing. In many respects, it has the nature of a research programme. I am grateful to Ascola for the opportunity to discuss the results attained so far and remain aware that more – much more – needs to be done. * Professor of Law at the University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Licence in Philosophy and Letters (Louvain). Master in Law (idem). LLM (Harvard). Doctorate in Law (Louvain). The author collectively thanks the fellow members of Ascola for their comments. The discussions here...
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