Chapter 7: Is legal reasoning like medical reasoning?
This is the first of two chapters in which legal reasoning is compared with, or to, reasoning in other disciplines. Stimulated by the publication some years ago in France of a small book on medical reasoning, legal and medical reasoning are compared. The question that is asked is whether the differences between the two types of reasoning will permit one to have a better understanding of some of the methodological and epistemological issues associated with legal reasoning. The chapter argues that although medical and legal reasoners do share things in common, legal reasoning, perhaps unlike medical reasoning, is actually concerned less with the explanation or even comprehension of texts or the facts of a dispute and more with what will be termed the ‘manipulation’ of facts (accommodatio factorum). Following on from a discussion in the previous chapter (Chapter 6), it is argued that lawyers purify and (or) construct ‘virtual’ factual situations out of perceived ‘actual’ factual situations in order to make them conform or not conform in an isomorphic way with factual situations implied by a legal text or precedent. Medical reasoning is equally complex but facts are read in a different way.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.