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Law and Philosophy

Cornell University ILR School

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Levels Of Abstraction In Legal Thinking, Michael Evan Gold Jan 2018

Levels Of Abstraction In Legal Thinking, Michael Evan Gold

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[Excerpt] This article applies the concept of levels of abstraction to legal thinking. Perhaps the most important use of the concept is to constrain judicial lawmaking in a principled way.

Level of abstraction refers to:

  • the numbers of persons and transactions that generate an issue,

  • the numbers of persons and transactions of which a piece of evidence is true,

  • the numbers of persons and transactions to which an argument applies, and

  • the numbers of persons and transactions that are affected by the resolution of an issue.

In general, the more persons and transactions to which an issue and its resolution ...