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An Introduction to Legal Reasoning (Phoenix Books) Revised Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The author describes his book as an attempt to give a general description of the process of legal reasoning in case law and in statutorial and constitutional interpretation. He emphasizes right at the beginning that the law should not be viewed as a known system of rules that are applied by a judge, that legal rules are never clear, and that a requirement for such clarity would make society impossible. Ambiguity in the rules he says, allows collective participation to resolve the ambiguity. Such a characterization of legal rules by Levi prohibits an axiomatic or formal approach to legal reasoning, and this will make the problem of creating automated legal reasoners much more difficult.
Interestingly, Levi quotes Aristotle in asserting that the pattern of legal reasoning consists of reasoning by example, and that it follows a three-step process: With the doctrine of precedent assumed throughout, a proposition describing a particular case is made into law and then this rule is applied to a situation that is similar to these. Thus: 1. The cases are shown to be similar. 2.Read more ›
Besides using legal terms that aren't explained, Levi's prose is so dense as to be almost unreadable, but worse, it lacks anything resembling clarity. He often barges straight in to lengthy analyses of concepts without explaining the basic terms he uses or even why they're relevant; these must be induced from the text while reading. Since Levi is usually demonstrating through examples how concepts change over time, however, it's difficult to pin down what the concept means at any one point, before Levi has already jumped ahead to the next point without explaining either.
It's also highly recommended that you look up the cases Levi cites, since his quotations from judges rarely contain enough critical information to piece together the actual concept involved. Finding the original and just reading the parts that he replaced with ellipses add an infinite degree of clarity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Legal reasoning is something you need to have beaten into you, it's not something you can read. Go to school.Published on October 22, 2013 by A Customer
Some of the material was slightly dated, and it was written with a legal style which can be difficult for the legal novice. Sort of a Catch-22. Read morePublished on August 16, 2013 by Leonard S. Ballard
Received on time just as described. This book offers a general overview of case law versus statutory law, alongside it's legislative interpretations.Published on July 12, 2013 by Anthony
This book was not all bad. I enjoyed the info behind the law and how they were created. Other than that it was just OK.Published on July 10, 2013 by Tim Culhane
It is a short book, but worth the price, and comprehensively packed with details about logical and legal reasoning. Read morePublished on January 5, 2011 by Sophia Del Sol
The prose is utterly unclear in terms of jargon, structure, and concepts. The author makes some good points, but nothing revolutionary and certainly convoluted in his examples. Read morePublished on July 17, 2010 by Amazon Customer
Edward H. Levi
An Introduction to Legal Reasoning
University of Chico Press, London: 1949
104pp. Read more
If you have some spare time, this book goes through cases of product liability common law to demonstrate how judges create policy through thier judgments. Read morePublished on August 28, 2009 by A. Moyer
You'll love this book - it makes you feel like you are back in law school again!Published on May 1, 2009 by John Briner