Frederick Schauer
Barbara Spellman

Legal Reasoning

PUBLISHER
Oxford University Press
DATE
2012
 

Abstract

The nature of legal reasoning, and its relationship with reasoning, has long been a topic of importance for lawyers and legal scholars. But it is also a topic with psychological implications, especially cognitive ones, and indeed most of the existing views about legal reasoning depend on psychological assumptions about the way in which ordinary people, lawyers, and judges reason and make decisions. This article, a chapter in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Thinking and Reasoning (K. Holyoak & R. Morrison eds.), explores the intersection between cognitive and social psychology, on the one hand, and legal reasoning and thinking and decision making, on the other. It attempts to show how existing psychological research is germane to the important questions about the nature legal reasoning – particularly with respect to precedent, analogy, authority, and rule-following – but even more it attempts to suggest a range of topics and questions that additions to the now-small body of psychological research might usefully address.

Citation

Frederick Schauer & Barbara A. Spellman, Legal Reasoning, in Keith J. Holyoak & Robert G. Morrison Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning, Oxford University Press, 719-735 (2012).
 

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