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Logical and Critical Thinking and Legal Reasoning

Logical and critical thinking and the law.
We’ve been looking at some broad areas in which effective logical and critical thinking are important and which generate distinct approaches to the questions they address.

Last week we looked at science. This week we’ll be looking at law, focussing on three important aspects of legal reasoning which connect to broader themes in logical and critical thinking:

  • Reasoning by Analogy
  • Law’s distinctive attitude to Arguments from Authority
  • The Burden of Proof.

We aim to help you to:

  • Identify and assess reasoning by analogy in law and elsewhere.
  • Recognise the significance of the burden of proof.
  • Explain why appeals to authority are respectable in law.

We’ll see that the things we’ve learned about logical and critical thinking enrich our understanding of these features of legal reasoning, and that the benefits run in the other directions as well: understanding how legal reasoning proceeds enriches our understanding of logical and critical thinking more generally.

© Tim Dare, University of Auckland
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Logical and Critical Thinking

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