Analogical Reasoning in Law

John Finnis

in Philosophy of Law

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580088
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729409 | DOI:
Analogical Reasoning in Law

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This chapter offers a comment on Scott Brewer's major study of legal argument by analogy which resulted, it seems, in some substantial revisions to that study, so that it now brings out the importance of what Charles Sanders Peirce called abduction, that is, insight into a mass of items or data. The exemplary cases from 19th-century American law adduced by Brewer to illustrate analogical reasoning are shown, on inspection, to be concerned with the merits of alternative rules or principles, rather than with some other kind of similarity between (kinds of) situations. Analogy-warranting rules or principles, discovered or arrived at by abduction, make comparison of ‘source’ cases with ‘target’ cases redundant.

Keywords: Brewer; argument by analogy; abduction; insight; Peirce; exemplary cases; analogy-warranting rules

Chapter.  3425 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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