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Legal Reasoning

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Created: February 22, 2002
Latest Update: February 22, 2002

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Using Hypotheticals: Legal Reasoning

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, February 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

On Friday, February 22, 2002, Helen Clark wrote:

Hi Jeanne

Of course, I viewed the site "Legal Reasoning" and the question that I found myself pondering was within the realm of this category. On the site, I read about hypothesis, "What if I make myself avaliable for court as a juror? What if each one teach one?" You know, each year I recieve a summons to appear in court. Each year I send it back with an excuse. I have a co-worker of fifteen years, and we were venting about the court system. She was explaining how her friend had to pick his jurors for a case, for which he was on trial. She was expressing how we come up with excuses to get out of jury duties. I actually felt guilty for my honest excuse. Well, this year I had an epiphany. This year I plan on honoring my obligation to the court system and participating. It is my general duty and the majority of people sent to trial need my concept on mutuality versus adversarialism. People have to be found guilty before they can be called criminals. This may be part of the answer to innocent until proven guilty.

On Friday, February 22, 2002, jeanne responded:


That's a whopper of a paragraph. Perhaps we should figure out how to break it into two. But, nah, I'm too tired right now. There are definitely a few "intellectual leaps" in there to get us from "What if just one person," ME, "did their jury duty, and used their knowledge and understanding of compulsive adversarialism as it plagues our society." And then you lead us full circle back to "maybe that's one way to be uphold our belief in innocent until proven guilty." I like that. You're beginning to write like I lecture: in a nice neat circle!

What's an intellectual leap? Well, when you skip a step because you know it so well, you think it's obvious. Often the reader gets lost because he/she doesn't see how you got from there to here. Basically it's an unstated assumption.

For example, if you're trying to teach a young person how to use the formula, v = l X w X h, and you tell the young one to divide both sides of the equation by v, then you would have v/v = l X w X h/ v or 1 = l X w X h and next you tell the young one to divide both sides now by w X h: 1/ w X h = l. In this same manner you could divide both sides of the equation by l X h and get? 1/ l X h = this is all scrambled up. But I get the idea. Need images for it.