On Logic in the Law: Something, but not All

Ratio Juris, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 1-131, March 2007

University of Miami Legal Studies Reseach Paper No. 2007-08

54 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2007 Last revised: 4 Mar 2008

See all articles by Susan Haack

Susan Haack

University of Miami - School of Law; University of Miami - Department of Philosophy

Abstract

In 1880, when Oliver Wendell Holmes (later to be a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court) criticized the logical theology of law articulated by Christopher Columbus Langdell (the first Dean of Harvard Law School), neither Holmes nor Langdell was aware of the revolution in logic that had begun, the year before, with Frege's Begriffsschrift. But there is an important element of truth in Holmes's insistence that a legal system cannot be adequately understood as a system of axioms and corollaries; and this element of truth is not obviated by the more powerful logical techniques that are now available.

Keywords: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Christopher Columbus Langdell, syllogistic logic, modern logic, law

Suggested Citation

Haack, Susan, On Logic in the Law: Something, but not All. ; University of Miami Legal Studies Reseach Paper No. 2007-08 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=975547

Susan Haack (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States
305-284-3541 (Phone)
305-284-6506 (Fax)

University of Miami - Department of Philosophy ( email )

P.O. Box 248054
Coral Gables, FL 33124-4670
United States

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