The Three Faces of Defeasibility in the Law

23 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2004  

Henry Prakken

University of Utrecht

Giovanni Sartor

European University Institute Law Department

Abstract

In this paper we will analyse the issue of defeasibility in the law, taking into account research carried out in philosophy, artificial intelligence and legal theory. We will adopt a very general idea of legal defeasibility, in which we will include all different ways in which certain legal conclusions may need to be abandoned, though no mistake was made in deriving them. We will argue that defeasibility in the law involves three different aspects, which we will call inference-based defeasibility, process-based defeasibility, and theory-based defeasibility. Only the integration of these three perspectives allows us to provide a satisfactory account of the role of defeasibility in legal reasoning.

Suggested Citation

Prakken, Henry and Sartor, Giovanni, The Three Faces of Defeasibility in the Law. Ratio Juris, Vol. 17, pp. 118-139, March 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=548098

Henry Prakken (Contact Author)

University of Utrecht ( email )

Vredenburg 138
NL-3508 TC Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

Giovanni Sartor

European University Institute Law Department ( email )

Via Boccaccio 121 (Villa Schifanoia)
I-50122 Firenze
ITALY

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