Law Logic

Jeffrie G. Murphy

Arizona State University College of Law


Ethics, Vol. 77, p. 193, 1967

Many commentators have noted that legal reasoning is neither completely inductive nor deductive, and have preferred to classify it as law logic. This article argues that this distinction is misguided. While it is correct to say that the connection between reasons and decisions in the law rests upon the presence of certain conventional rules uniting them, this article argues, however, the presence of these rules does not even justify our calling legal decisions rational in any but a very weak sense. Legal argument employs no special logic and manifests no special pattern of rationality. It begins by considering the relation between evidence and verdicts in criminal law. Then it passes on to the more difficult problems raised primarily in civil law, where the reasoning from case by case by analogy, the most strikingly unique form, exists.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: Inductive and Deductive Logic, Law Logic, Legal Reasoning

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Date posted: September 9, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Jeffrie G., Law Logic (1967). Ethics, Vol. 77, p. 193, 1967. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1469726

Contact Information

Jeffrie G. Murphy (Contact Author)
Arizona State University College of Law ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
(480) 965-5856 (Phone)
(480) 965-2427 (Fax)
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