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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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Concluding remarks

Geoffrey Samuel


These concluding remarks do not constitute a chapter as such. They are simply a résumé of the principal points inherent in the previous chapters and in the separate Elgar publication by the present author, namely A Short Introduction to Judging and to Legal Reasoning (Edward Elgar, 2016), together with some further concluding ideas. There is some discussion of Professor Lasser’s notion of an official and unofficial portrait of French law, a dichotomy employed in the Short Introduction book (but in respect of English legal reasoning). And this is followed by short discussions on the two principal conclusions; these are of course Vaihinger’s ‘as if’ fiction theory (Chapter 9) and the importance of the notion of an interest (Chapters 11–12). Finally, a further conclusion is suggested. This is that legal reasoning, and indeed law as a discipline, is underpinned by a number of epistemological tensions which are implicitly (if not explicitly on occasions) ever present; and it is unlikely that they will ever to be ‘solved’ as such. For these tensions are part of the nature of law as a discipline.

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