Reasoning with Rules

Current Legal Problems, Vol. 54, pp. 1-18, 2001

18 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2007

See all articles by Joseph Raz

Joseph Raz

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Columbia University - Law School; King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law


What is special about legal reasoning? In what way is it distinctive? How does it differ from reasoning in medicine, or engineering, physics, or everyday life? The answers range from the very ambitious to the modest. The ambitious claim that there is a special and distinctive legal logic, or legal ways of reasoning, modes of reasoning which set the law apart from all other disciplines. Opposing them are the modest, who claim that there is nothing special to legal reasoning, that reason is the same in all domains. According to them, only the contents of the law differentiate it from other areas of inquiry, whereas its mode of reasoning is the one common to all domains of inquiry.

Keywords: Jurisprudence, Legal Reasoning, Rules

Suggested Citation

Raz, Joseph, Reasoning with Rules. Available at SSRN:

Joseph Raz (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom


Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States


King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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