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Legal Reason
The Use of Analogy in Legal Argument

2nd Edition

  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107153462

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  • Legal Reason describes and explains analogical reasoning, the distinctive feature of legal argument. It challenges the prevailing view that analogical reasoning is a logically flawed, defective form of deductive reasoning. Drawing on work in epistemology and cognitive psychology, the book shows that analogical reasoning in the law is the same as that used by everyone routinely in ordinary life, and that it is a valid form of reasoning, derived from the innate human capacity to recognize the general in the particular. The use of analogical reasoning in law is dictated by the nature of law, which calls for the application of general rules to particular facts. Critiques of the first edition of the book are addressed directly and objections answered in a new chapter. Written for scholars, students, and persons interested in law, Legal Reason is written in accessible prose, with examples drawn from the law and everyday experience.

    • A revised and updated edition, restating the case for the central place of analogy in legal reasoning, using clear and accessible prose
    • Challenges the traditional view, expounded by Edward Levi and more recent legal scholars, that analogy is a flawed means of argument
    • Provides a full discussion of competing analyses and theories, aiding understanding and encouraging readers to judge for themselves
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Legal Reason: The Use of Analogy in Legal Argument is for all comers. Weinreb provides excellent advice for beginning law students who are often bewildered by the case method. He engages leading scholars in the never-ending debate over the meaning and efficacy of legal reason. Not done, he reaches the general reader in ways that demystify legal inquiry. This is a book to be read more than once. It should be a mainstay in professional understanding for years to come.' Robert A. Ferguson, George Edward Woodberry Professor Emeritus in Law, Literature and Criticism, Columbia University, New York

    'Analogical reasoning is at the core of what lawyers and judges do. Yet it remains controversial and even mysterious. Legal Reason is a perfect guide to understanding this form of reasoning, and its place in legal disputes.' Brian Bix, Frederick W. Thomas Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Minnesota

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107153462
    • length: 197 pages
    • dimensions: 223 x 145 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Steamboats, broadcast transmissions, and electronic eavesdropping
    2. Analogical legal reasoning
    3. Objections
    4. Analogical reasoning, legal education, and the rule of law
    Appendix A. Note on the problem of universals
    Appendix B. Biographical notes.

  • Author

    Lloyd L. Weinreb, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Lloyd L. Weinreb is Dane Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. His other books include Natural Law and Justice (1987) and Oedipus at Fenway Park: What Rights Are and Why There Are Any (1994).

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