LAW 2731 - Logic Skills for Legal Reasoning
This course is designed to teach skills useful in analyzing the reasoning structures found in judicial decisions, and in constructing new arguments using elements of those structures. Students will learn to analyze judicial decisions as natural language documents that we search in order to retrieve the elements of legal reasoning and argument. The logic skills taught in the course include: analyzing the linguistic structure of judicial decisions, to interpret the meaning of the text (a skill applicable to all types of legal documents); searching documents and retrieving information critical to legal argumentation (a skill also applicable tosearch software, e-discovery, and artificial intelligence applications in law); and constructing new legal arguments using rules, findings, evidence and policiesextracted from judicial decisions (a skill applicable to all types of legal reasoning and argumentation). No prior knowledge of linguistics or logic is required.Students will work through a series of modules that are focused on particular logic skills. Each module will consist of the following online elements:background text, videos, interactive examples; exercises to be performed; and feedback on those exercises. After students have completed certain sets of modules, the class will meet to discuss problems that students might be having, and to discuss the topic more broadly. Thus, although working through the online materials will be a substantial part of the learning experience, the course will be taught primarily in a synchronous manner (the instructor meeting with all students at the same time). Examples and judicial decisions will be drawn primarily fromTorts cases, of the kind familiar from first-year Torts courses. There will be a final examination. While a student’s performance in the course will be graded, the mandatory grading curve will not apply because the grade will be primarily determined by an evaluation mechanism involving significant individualized interaction between the student and teacher.
Credits: 1 or 2
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