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Rethinking Legal Reasoning

Geoffrey Samuel

‘Rethinking’ legal reasoning seems a bold aim given the large amount of literature devoted to this topic. In this thought-provoking book, Geoffrey Samuel proposes a different way of approaching legal reasoning by examining the topic through the context of legal knowledge (epistemology). What is it to have knowledge of legal reasoning?
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Chapter 8: Is legal reasoning like reasoning in film studies?

Geoffrey Samuel


This second chapter on comparison examines reasoning in film studies with the aim of investigating whether the work in this discipline has any useful lessons for jurists interested in their own reasoning. After a general discussion about the epistemological difficulties to be encountered with such a comparative undertaking, the chapter looks at several theories that might be said to have been developed within literary and film studies: these are personification theory (which involves a long discussion of the Hitchcock film Vertigo), representation theory and reception theory. It will be argued that these theories have relevance for legal reasoning. However, it will also be suggested, via the various discussions on interpretation and theory, that legal reasoners might have lessons that are useful for those involved with film scholarship.

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