Precedent, Interpretation & Probability (LAWS6836)
UNIT OF STUDY
The unit will examine a number of contemporary debates regarding the nature of legal reasoning. The unit will examine the status of the modern doctrine of precedent and the current state of the Hart/Dworkin/Fish debate in regard to the nature of precedential reasoning. The unit will examine contemporary semantic theory and philosophy of language, and the contribution those fields can make to a proper understanding of the interpretation of legal texts. The unit will also examine the relationship between legal reasoning and moral reasoning and the new legal positivism of writers such as Goldsworthy and Shapiro. In a final segment, the unit will examine legal reasoning in regard to matters of fact, and the current debate as to whether legal fact finding can be modelled using Bayes' theorem and probability theory.
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