Demystifying Legal Reasoning defends the proposition that there are no special forms of reasoning peculiar to law. Legal decision makers engage in the same modes of reasoning that all actors use in deciding what to do: open-ended moral reasoning, empirical reasoning, and deduction from authoritative rules. This book addresses common law reasoning when prior judicial decisions determine the law, and interpretation of texts. In both areas, the popular view that legal decision makers practice special forms of reasoning is false.
Part I. Law and its Function: 1. Moral controversy; Part II. Common Law Reasoning: Deciding Cases When Prior Judicial Decisions Determine the Law: 2. Ordinary reason applied to law: natural reasoning and deduction from rules; 3. The mystification of common-law reasoning; 4. Common law practice; Part III. Reasoning from Canonical Legal Text: 5. Interpreting statutes and other posited rules; 6. Infelicities of the intended meaning of canonical texts and norms constraining interpretation; 7. Non-intentionalist interpretation; 8. Is constitutional interpretation different? Why it isn't and is; 9. All or nothing.