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Logic for Lawyers: A Guide to Clear Legal Thinking

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"To win in court, you must master the elements of legal logic - the ultimate tool of persuasion in the courtroom." In Logic for Lawyers: A Guide to Clear Legal Thinking, Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert tells how to use legal reasoning to persuade judges and juries.

A 30-year veteran of the bench, Aldisert helps litigators understand and apply the elements of legal logic. Using these skills, you can argue more persuasively - both in briefs and before the court. And just as critically, you can also expose flaws in adversaries' arguments.

The result? A competitive edge in the courtroom. Rather than miring readers in exotic formulas and theories often found in logic texts, Aldisert explains in broad strokes the basics of logic and its application to legal thinking. You'll gain important insight into the mental processes we use in "thinking like a lawyer."

Reviews

"This is a book about legal reasoning or legal logic. While not challenging Justice Holmes' classic statement, 'The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience,' it offers telling arguments that legal reasoning, or legal logic, may plan an equal or even more significant role in the life of the law ... All judges, lawyers, and law students will greatly profit by reading it."

       — William J. Brennan, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice (Ret.)

"Logic for Lawyers is the product of a keen mind that has benefited from opportunities to engage in and examine legal thinking from a variety of perspectives. This volume fills a surprising void in the current legal literature. Its publication should be particularly welcomed by law students and those who teach them."

       — Mark A. Nordenberg, Chancellor and Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh

Authors / Contributors

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword

Preface

Excerpts of First Edition Preface

Chapter 1—INTRODUCTION

Chapter 2—REASONING AND THE COMMON-LAW TRADITION

Precedent
The Role of Logic
Critical Importance of Value Judgments
A Pause to Recapitulate: An Intermezzo

Chapter 3—ELEMENTS OF LEGAL THINKING
Reflective Thinking
The Language of Logic
Beliefs
Reasonable, Reasoning, Reasons
Conclusion Testing
. . . A Lagniappe

Chapter 4—INTRODUCTION TO DEDUCTIVE AND INDUCTIVE REASONING
Deductive Reasoning
Inductive Reasoning
Inductive Generalization
Analogy

Chapter 5—DEDUCTIVE REASONING
Categorical Syllogism
Enthymemes
Evaluating a Proposed Inference
Polysyllogisms
Value Judgments—Choice of Premises
Premises: Validity and Soundness
Rules of the Categorical Syllogism
A Mission: Locate Syllogisms in the Following Cases

Chapter 6—INDUCTIVE REASONING

Inductive Generalization
Analogy
Understanding Inductive Reasoning
A Fable for Our Time

Chapter 7—THE PARADIGMATIC COMMON-LAW CASE
Dorset Yacht Co. v. Home Office
An Analysis of Lord Diplock's Premises
Lord Diplock's Method of Analogy
Lord Diplock's Conclusion

Chapter 8—THE SOCRATIC METHOD
Preparing for the Socratic Method
Socratic Dialogue (Law School Style)

Chapter 9—INTRODUCTION TO FALLACIES
State v. Moore
Hashimoto v. Dalton
County of Tulare v. Campbell
Jones v. Maryland
Formal Fallacy Defined
Informal (Material) Fallacy Defined
Formal Fallacies
Informal (Material) Fallacies

Chapter 10—FORMAL FALLACIES
Fallacies in Categorical Syllogisms
The Fallacy of the Illicit Process of the Major Term and Minor Term
The Fallacy of Negative Premises
Fallacies in Hypothetical Syllogisms
Fallacies in Disjunctive Syllogisms

Chapter 11—INFORMAL (MATERIAL) FALLACIES: Part One
Irrelevance and Distraction
Fallacy of Irrelevant Evidence
Fallacies of Distraction

Chapter 12—INFORMAL (MATERIAL) FALLACIES: Part Two
Context and Content
Dicto Simpliciter (Fallacy of Accident)
The Converse Fallacy of Accident (Hasty Generalization)
False Cause
Non Sequitur (It Does Not Follow)
Compound (Complex) Questions
Petitio Principii (Begging the Question)
Tu Quoque (You Yourself Do It)
Linguistic Fallacies
Argumentum Ad Nauseum
Summary

Chapter 13—CONCLUSION
The Holmes-Pound-Cardozo-Jones Tradition
Analogies Revisited
Test for Material Facts
Reasonableness and Reasons
How Logic Will Help You
The Dilemma

APPENDICES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

TABLE OF CASES BY SUBJECT MATTER

INDEX