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Legal reasoning

Legal reasoning is about various factors and has various components attached to it. This concept is of thinking which the learners and researchers should use in order to reach a legal conclusion and make further decisions. When we talk about co relation in between law and society, we understand the social control perspective, it happens because law enables to provide solution to conflicts that may arise by setting precedents in past, present and future.

It has been very long history that has given us the opportunity to formulate logical reasoning in law. Legal procedure, history and its binding ability can resolve conflicts in the society and further direct current activity while maintaining continuity with the past, and to control the future by laying down procedures, approaches and theories.

Decision are guided and followed by a logical reasoning which takes into account the past decisions and statutes, the present position of the parties to the cases, and its own impact on future activity. The ability of open interpretation with boundaries help the learner and researches to reach a legal conclusion.

  • To introduce the concept of legal reasoning and its importance.
  • To understand the basic components in legal reasoning.
  • To understand the role of logical reasoning in law
  • To know about the various types of legal reasoning methods in terms of kinds of arguments.
  • To focus on deductive method of research.
  • To understand the Steps of deductive method
  • To understand the merits and de merits of deductive method

Basic Components In Legal Reasoning

The four pillars of legal reasoning are "Legal Process Logic", "Justice", "Experience" and "Policies".
  • Legal process logic lays on the principle of consistency and equal application of law. The science that involves forming legal conclusion can never be as simple as right and wrong it inherits the correct application of precedents and equal application of law.
  • The principle justice is the sword that slays and ensure the to do right between the parties. The concept of justice revolves around the philosophical thought of justice based on evidence.
  • Experience teaches the most integral component of legal reasoning. The practice of law is about experience and through experience we understand the logic. It is the tool that empowers the user to understand come to legal conclusion of legal judgments.
  • The term policy is used to describe the process of approaching a conflict as well as a solution. It is the give and take of the scientific attempt to see into future and understand the consequences and impacts. It is emphasizing on the individual to put aside die current interests of the parties and to keep in mind how this decision would affect other persons in future.

Logical Reasoning Types And Principles

When we look at all the four components, the logical thinking is the core which creates the concept of legal reasoning similar to scientific generalizations are based on logical explanations. Every science is based on the principles of logic or reason. Science involves die rules of reasoning or use of arguments. Arguments are made on the basis of connection, relationship, association, property, common variable or attribute between things and activities mentioned in the argument.

Inductive Method
Scientific method of research emphasizes and works on the principle of induction. It is the process which involves the reasoning from particular cases to whole group of cases, from specific instances of the concerning law. It can also be called the historical or empirical or a posteriori method. It can be also said that it is a practical ideology to legal work, study and research problems. It is that bridge which covers the gap in between theoretical and practice.

It ignites the chain reaction between the causes and further establishes the relation in between them. It is a collective of instances and facts also known as raw data of experience, that is the reason it is called as empirical. The data is can be of various field and background such as statistics, historical records, etc. as long as it related.

Deductive Method
From the title we understand that this method is about deduction of conclusions, assumptions and both of them collectively. It is process that gives reasoning and its principle varies from general to particular hence makes the base broader. It provides the premise because its vast reasoning. It has other components such as analytical, abstract and a priori method. What the abstract method indicates is the ideology and the approach for the study. It is the rational approach qualifies it as scientific. It is basically a rational approach in accordance with the tenets of deductive logic. It is the logic that uses a general statement as the basis of argument.

If we focus on syllogism of this method, it's major components consists a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.

A major premise is the principle that states a general rule. During the legal research this premise state generally a statement of law. A minor premise the part which makes a factual statement of the facts of the research. During the legal research and arguments, this premise states the statement of fact. The role of conclusion is to make a connect the major and minor premise through a statement and hence the relation establish further provides a general rule that applies to the facts and during the legal research it can be said that it is the Step of instating the law to the facts.

Example: to qualify as a victim of rape under criminal law there must be:
  1. Sexual intercourse with a woman
  2. The intercourse must be without her will" (Major premise; states a rule of law). Here, the woman had consensual sex. (Minor premise; makes a statement of fact.) Therefore, the plaintiff cannot be a "victim" of rap under criminal law. (Conclusion; correctly applies the law to the facts.)

When the truth of the premise follows:
In order for a syllogism to be valid, it must be logically impossible for its premises to be true and its conclusion to be false. In other words, a syllogism is valid if, given the truth of its premises, the conclusion "follows" logically such that it, too, must be true. An argument is not valid simply because its premises and conclusion are all true.

Example: All teachers are human. Some human are excellent racers. Therefore, some teachers are excellent racers.

During the research the study of the causal factors of the delinquencies have some general anticipatory idea which enables the researcher guides them to observe on the specific facts which is relevant to their inquiry. It is not necessary that the implications are clear then in those cases the observation helps them user to formulate certain single propositions leading to clearing out irrelevance. That is, they deduce from die complexities of observed behaviour certain single ideas. In other words, they use a process of reasoning about the whole observed situations in order to arrive at a particular idea. This process of reasoning is called deduction or deductive reasoning.

The following example can be cited for the deductive reasoning:
Lombroso, an Italian, observed peculiar physical features among the criminals and by using the logical deductive thinking formulated the following propositions by taking his observations into consideration:
  1. Criminals are by birth a distinct type of persons
  2. They can be recognized by stigma or anomalies such as a symmetrical cranium, long lower jaw, flattened nose, scanty beard and low sensitivity to pains
  3. These physical anomalies identify the personality which is predisposed criminal behavior
  4. Such persons cannot refrain from committing crime unless the circumstances of life are generally favoured.

Deduction is logical reasoning and if we start with good premises, deduction can serve scientific research in three ways:
  1. Deduction enables to detect the questionable assumptions logically and it is involved in what is believed to be the truth and it multiplies the number of available hypothesis by formulating the possible alternatives.
  2. The logical deduction of its consequences makes clear the meaning of any hypothesis.
  3. The process of rigorous deduction is an aid in the attempt to steer clear of irrelevancies and thus the right principle is found.

Steps In The Deductive Method

Step 1
In this Step the problem is explored and it preliminary to any investigation. It states the existence of a definite problem in the mind of the researcher. The problem should hold significance in the factual world.

Step 2
In this Step the hypothesis from the assumption which are made are selected which can lead to the final conclusion from the research. It is important the selection and the relevant assumptions are taken into account from the observation. This Step bridges the gap of assumptions and facts. The final results from this Step is; conjuncture, a hunch, of the possible connection between two phenomena.

Step 3
Theoretical development of the formulated hypothesis has been taken together with the implications and should be carefully studied to further result into a theory. We understand the consequences and implications are deduced from the logical reasoning.

The explanandum and explanans are the two parts of this Step.
The explanandum is the part which enables the user to reach to conclusion of the deductive argument of the issue at hand which may be pertaining of anything. It might be singular or multiple which can always vary.

The explanans (premise) explain the explanandum (conclusion). The explanandum is deduced from the explanans. The deductive explanation has a valid argument because it takes the form of conditional argument, affirming die antecedent which is a valid form of inference.

Step 4
The final Step of this process is the verification of theories.

Merits And Demerits Of Deductive Method

  1. Powerful: "Deductive explanation is very powerful because it makes use of a valid form of deductive argument where the explanandum must be true if the explanans are true."
  2. Simple method: "From a few basic facts of human nature, a number of inferences can be drawn by logical reasoning."
  3. Substitute for experimentation: "It is not possible for the investigator to conduct controlled experiments with the legal phenomena in a laboratory. He can, therefore, fall back upon deductive reasoning."
  4. Actual and exact: "The deductive method lends for the generalizations which are accurate and exact."

  1. The diversity and complexity of brain poses the trouble for part of the population whose logic and reasoning might not be very strong hence not everyone can be successful in using this method. This is further growing with time and even after experience it may not be definite that the conclusion reached is applicable in the scenario.
  2. It is also interpreted that there is a danger of building inapplicable models. If the user confines to only abstraction. Then this model may have the elegance and be logically sound but still can be distinct from the reality.
  3. It is important to understand the conditions because deductive reasoning are valid only under right assumed conditions. It is important for assumptions to be valid.
  4. Despite the vast base and assumptions this method might not be applicable to all the scenarios and cases. Hence it may be applicable to some but not all the studies.

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