Logic, Language and Legal Science: Are We Lagging Behind?


The central theme of this article is that modern notions of logic, deriving from computer logics and also from the language and logic movement in philosophy, provide a sound basis for legal science and hence for legal writing, law practice and legal education. Scepticism about legal formalism largely derives from the fact that the term logic is still taken to mean the syllogistic logic of Aristotle. Modern notions of logic, generally referred to as formalism or formal studies, view knowledge in general and science in particular in terms of game theory, applying word, number letter and iconic games to data in order to achieve certain objectives. Formal games are old in the law; the forms of action at common law have produced several simple games, for instance the "AND" game and the "OR" game which continue to function in legal argument. Game theory can also supply valuable formal tools apt for use in legal education, legal writing and law practice. These include branching diagrams (algorithms) and the decisional logics used in business and in medical practice. Examples of the use of such methods in legal writing are given in the appendices.


Jurisprudence | Legal Education

Date of this Version

June 2004