Freiburger Vorträge zur Staatswissenschaft und Rechtsphilosophie_The Structure of Arguments by Analogy in Law


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  • hochgeladen 5. März 2021

Prof. Claudio Michelon, Professor of Philosophy of Law, Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh

Vortrag gehalten am 19.11.2015

Zur Person:

An der Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brasilien) absolvierte Prof. Claudio Michelon das Studium der Philosophie, das er 1992 mit einem LL.B und
1996 mit dem Master in Philosophie abschloss. 2001 promovierte er an der University of Edinburgh. Von 2001 bis 2006 lebte Prof. Michelon in Brasilien, wo er als Rechtsanwalt praktizierte und Assistant Professor an der Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul war. Seit 2007 ist er Professor für Rechtsphilosophie an der University of Edinburgh.


The Structure of Arguments by Analogy in Law

This paper discusses the structure of arguments by analogy in law. The first part of the paper takes issue with the best known (contemporary account of the structure of legal analogical argument: Martin P. Golding’s. Golding’s account gives expression to a very popular picture of analogical arguments. For him, arguments by analogy fit the following scheme:

(1) x has characteristics F, G . . . (2) y has characteristics F, G . . . (3) x has characteristic H.
(4) F, G . . . are H-relevant characteristics. Therefore (from (1), (2), (3), and (4)),
(5)Unless there are countervailing considerations, y has characteristic H.

This paper presents two objections to conceiving analogical argument in these terms: (a) the source case is argumentatively idle and (b) the argument fails to account for the normative nature of the conclusion of legal analogies.
The second part of the paper presents and defends an alternative account of the structure of arguments by analogy in law. There are (at least) three advantages of the proposed characterisation.
First, the scheme discharges the two burdens identified in the discussion of Golding’s scheme: it accounts for the normative character of analogical arguments in law, and retains the argumentative relevance of the source case. Second, the theoretical framework that informs the scheme allows for an integrated understanding of how precedent works in legal argument. Third, the scheme and the theoretical framework also enable one to make sense of some popular claims about judicial reasoning. One example is the idea law might in some instances develop on the back of reasoning “from case to case” without the necessary articulation (at any given step) of any general unifying rules.

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