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Legal analysis

2002

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Law And Large Numbers, Paul H. Edelman Jan 2002

The Law And Large Numbers, Paul H. Edelman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Can mathematics be used to inform legal analysis? This is not a ridiculous question. Law has certain superficial resem­blances to mathematics. One might view the Constitution and various statutes as providing "axioms" for a deductive legal sys­tem. From these axioms judges deduce "theorems" consisting of interpretation of these axioms in certain situations. Often these theorems are built on previously "proven" theorems, i.e. earlier decisions of the court. Of course some of the axioms might change, and occasionally a theorem that was once true becomes false; the former is a common feature of mathematics, the latter, though theoretically not possible in …