On Logic in the Law: 'Something, But Not All'

31 Pages Posted: 3 May 2007

See all articles by Susan Haack

Susan Haack

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

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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.

Suggested Citation

Haack, Susan, On Logic in the Law: 'Something, But Not All'. Ratio Juris, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 1-31, March 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=981611 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9337.2007.00330.x

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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