Informal Logic 28 (1):31-43 (2008)

Damiano Canale
Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi
We remark that the A Contrario Argument is an ambiguous technique of justification of judicial decisions. We distinguish two uses and versions of it, strong and weak, taking as example the normative sentence “Underprivileged citizens are permitted to apply for State benefit”. According to the strong version, only underprivileged citizens are permitted to apply for State benefit, so stateless persons are not. According to the weak, the law does not regulate the position of underprivileged stateless persons in this respect. We propose an inferential analysis of the two uses along the lines of the scorekeeping practice as described by Robert Brandom, and try to point out what are the ontological assumptions of the two. We conclude that the strong version is justified if and only if there is a relevant incompatibility between the regulated subject and the present case
Keywords A Contrario Argument, Exchange of Reasons, Gaps in the Law, Incompatibility Relations, Inferentialism, Legal Argumentation, Legal Reasoning, Negation, Ontological Assumptions
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,756
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Making It Explicit.Isaac Levi & Robert B. Brandom - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):145.
Logic and Conversation.H. Paul Grice - 1975 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 47.
The Construction of Social Reality.Alan Nelson - 1995 - Ethics 108 (1):208-210.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What the Legislature Did Not Say.Damiano Canale & Giovanni Tuzet - 2016 - Journal of Argumentation in Context 5 (3):249-270.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Legal Concepts as Inferential Nodes and Ontological Categories.Giovanni Sartor - 2009 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 17 (3):217-251.
A Logical Choice.Tracy Lupher - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):237-246.
AI & Law, Logic and Argument Schemes.Henry Prakken - 2005 - Argumentation 19 (3):303-320.
The Ontological Argument.Graham Oppy - 2008 - In Paul Copan & Chad V. Meister (eds.), Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues. Blackwell.


Added to PP index

Total views
42 ( #225,281 of 2,333,911 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #194,312 of 2,333,911 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes