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As a student of law with a vivid interest in logic (in a broad sense), I find myself intrigued by the possibility of combining these two subjects. From what I so far have found, the implementation of the latter field of thought to legal discipline is mostly only done with regard to informal logic, with fairly simple overviews of the rules of inference etc.; the scope is mostly one aimed to serve the practical law-man in, say, procedural contexts. The ones that serve the academic community, seem not to be quite technical.

Yet, the legal system seems highly infested with what logic is concerned. The relation between propositions of facts and norms, the norms being constructed with the help of sentential connectives, say, material conditionals or bi-conditionals to name just a few. Yet other phenomena could be named: judgments and other propositional attitudes, the normative "it is the case that", whose descriptive accuracy depends on what legal institution one is in(e.g. penal-law demands higher probability for stating that something ´is a fact´ than in contract law), hypothesizing etc.. It all seems to permit the introduction of logic and other philosophical analytaical tools for general clarifications of ´what is happening´.

I have come over some works done in the sociology of law that have taken this up analyzing ´judgements´ in a legal context with the help of Gotthard Günthers poly-contextural logic etc.

Is there any literature you could recommend? Is there any way in which you see this leading to any fruitful results? If so, in what way? I am well aware that the phenomena described in the legal system are not law-specific so to speak, but are in many ways connected with the general structure and use of language.

February 9, 2012

Response from William Rapaport on February 29, 2012
I would hope that my askphilosophers.org colleagues might be able to answer your question better than I can with respect to the law and logic in philosophy, but I can try to give you some pointers to the literature on the law and logic in artificial intelligence.

The first pointer is not so far removed from philosophy. My former colleague in the School of Law at the University at Buffalo, L. Thorne McCarty, applied deontic logic to legal issues, often citing the work of the philosopher Hector-Neri Castañeda. See, e.g., McCarty, L. Thorne (1983), "Permissions and Obligations", Proceedings of the 8th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-83; Karlsruhe, W. Germany) (Los Altos, CA: Morgan Kaufmann): 287-294.

There is also a journal, Artificial Intelligence and Law, which occasionally has papers that you might find relevant.


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