The Empirical Foundation of Normative Arguments in Legal Reasoning

25 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2016 Last revised: 11 Mar 2016

See all articles by Yun-chien Chang

Yun-chien Chang

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS); New York University School of Law

Peng-Hsiang Wang

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS)

Date Written: February 15, 2016

Abstract

While empirical legal studies thrive in the U.S., this is not necessarily the case elsewhere. Yet even in the U.S., the way in which empirical work is useful for normative legal arguments remains unclear. This article first points out the junction between empirical facts and normative arguments. Both teleological and consequentialist arguments, in one of the premises, require “difference-making facts” which point out causal relations. Much empirical research makes causal inferences and thus constitutes an essential part in teleological and consequentialist arguments, which are typical normative arguments in legal reasoning. This article then offers a descriptive theory of legal reasoning. Although some empirical research does not make causal inferences, it still falls within the domain of legal scholarship. This is because describing valid laws is a core function of doctrinal studies of law, and sometimes only sophisticated empirical research can aptly describe laws.

Keywords: Difference-making facts, teleological arguments, consequentialist arguments, causal inference, institutional behavior, efficacy of law, doctrinal studies of law

Suggested Citation

Chang, Yun-chien and Wang, Peng-Hsiang, The Empirical Foundation of Normative Arguments in Legal Reasoning (February 15, 2016). U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 561; University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 745. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2733781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2733781

Yun-chien Chang (Contact Author)

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS) ( email )

128 Academia Sinica Rd., Sec. 2
Nankang
Taipei City, 11529
Taiwan

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Peng-Hsiang Wang

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS) ( email )

128 Academia Rd., Sec. 2
Nankang
Taipei City, 11529
Taiwan
886-2-2652 5433 (Phone)

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