On Logic in the Law: “Something, but not All”

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In 1880, when Oliver Wendell Holmes (later to be a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court) criticized the “logical theology” of law articulated by Christopher Columbus Langdell (the first Dean of Harvard Law School), neither Holmes nor Langdell was aware of the revolution in logic that had begun, the year before, with Frege's Begriffsschrift. But there is an important element of truth in Holmes's insistence that a legal system cannot be adequately understood as a system of “axioms and corollaries”; and this element of truth is not obviated by the more powerful logical techniques that are now available.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9337.2007.00330.x

Affiliations: University of Miami, School of LawCoral Gables, FL 33124-8087,U.S.A.

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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