Formalizing multiple interpretation of legal knowledge

Artificial Intelligence and Law 3 (4):221-265 (1995)
Abstract
A representation methodology for knowledge allowing multiple interpretations is described. It is based on the following conception of legal knowledge and its open texture. Since indeterminate, legal knowledge must be adapted to fit the circumstances of the cases to which it is applied. Whether a certain adaptation is lawful or not is measured by metaknowledge. But as this too is indeterminate, its adaptation to the case must be measured by metametaknowledge, etc. This hierarchical model of law is quite well-established and may serve well as a basis for a legal knowledge system. To account for the indeterminacy of law such a system should support the construction of different arguments for and against various interpretations of legal sources. However, automatizing this reasoning fully is unsound since it would imply a restriction to arguments defending interpretations anticipated at programming time. Therefore, the system must be interactive and the user''s knowledge be furnished in a principled way. Contrary to the widespread opinion that classical logic is inadequate for representing open-textured knowledge, the framework outlined herein is given a formalization in first order logic.
Keywords multiple interpretation  open texture  vagueness  schemata  metalogic programming  metalogic knowledge representation
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