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Rhetoric and The Rule of Law – A Theory of Legal Reasoning - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Rhetoric and The Rule of Law: A Theory of Legal Reasoning

Neil MacCormick


When cases come before courts can we predict the outcome? Is legal reasoning rationally persuasive, working within a formal structure and using recognisable forms of arguments to produce predictable results? Or is legal reasoning mere ‘rhetoric’ in the pejorative sense, open to use, and abuse, to achieve whatever ends unscrupulous politicians, lawyers and judges desire? If the latter what becomes of the supposed security of living under the rule of law? This book tackles these questions by presenting a theory of legal reasoning. It explains the essential role syllogism plays in reasoning used ... More

Keywords: legal reasoning, rhetoric, rule of law, syllogism, deductive reasoning, precedent, analogy, principle, legal standards

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780199571246
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571246.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Neil MacCormick, author
Formerly Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations, the University of Edinburgh