On the Autonomy of Legal Reasoning


in Ethics in the Public Domain

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780198260691
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682148 | DOI:
On the Autonomy of Legal Reasoning

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Legal reasoning is reasoning about the law, or reasoning concerning legal matters. This chapter considers the autonomy of legal reasoning. It addresses the question on whether legal reasoning has room in it for moral reasons. It offers two conclusions. First, that there is more to legal reasoning than just the application of that special knowledge and the exercise of that special skill. Second, courts commonly have the discretion to modify legal rules, or make exceptions to their applications, and where they have such discretion, they ought to resort to moral reasoning to decide whether to use it or how.

Keywords: legal reasoning; moral reasoning; morality; doctrinal reasoning; autonomy

Chapter.  7690 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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