AI & Law, logic and argument schemes

Argumentation 19 (3):303-320 (2005)
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This paper reviews the history of AI & Law research from the perspective of argument schemes. It starts with the observation that logic, although very well applicable to legal reasoning when there is uncertainty, vagueness and disagreement, is too abstract to give a fully satisfactory classification of legal argument types. It therefore needs to be supplemented with an argument-scheme approach, which classifies arguments not according to their logical form but according to their content, in particular, according to the roles that the various elements of an argument can play. This approach is then applied to legal reasoning, to identify some of the main legal argument schemes. It is also argued that much AI & Law research in fact employs the argument-scheme approach, although it usually is not presented as such. Finally, it is argued that the argument-scheme approach and the way it has been employed in AI & Law respects some of the main lessons to be learnt from Toulmin’s The Uses of Argument



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