030558 Introduction to Formal Logic in Legal Argumentation - Comparative Case Studies

2 hour(s), 3,0 ECTS credits

block course

Language of Instruction: English

limited number of participants: 30

Lecturer: Mag. Jürgen Busch, LL.M. / Dr. Gabriel Lentner


Friday, 08.05.2020 → 15:00 - 18:00 → Seminarraum SEM51

Monday, 11.05.2020 → 15:00 - 18:00→ Seminarraum SEM64

Friday, 15.05.2020 → 15:00 - 18:00 → Seminarraum SEM51

Thursday, 18.06.2020 → 15:00 - 18:00 → Seminarraum SEM51

Friday, 19.06.2020 → 15:00 - 18:00 → Seminarraum SEM51

Monday, 22.06.2020 → 15:00 - 18:00 → Seminarraum SEM64

Registration / Deregistration via U:Space

Registration: from 01.02.2020 to 04.05.2020

Deregistration: possible until 08.05.2020

Aims, contents and method of the course

This course introduces the use of formal logic for the analysis of legal arguments as developed by several European partner universities within the Erasmus Intensive Programme LAWGIC (i.a. European University Institute Florence, University of Bologna, the European Academy of Legal Theory) and including the so-called 'logocratic method' by Professor Scott Brewer (Harvard Law School). It aims at providing the analytical tools for students to critically evaluate legal arguments in all fields of law regardless of a specific jurisdiction.

The first part of the course will be input from the lecturers on the so-called 'logocratic method' along with reading assignments and exercises developing the necessary basic knowledge and skills for the subsequent second part. During the latter part students are required to prepare, present, and discuss comparative group presentations: In a blended learning environment they 1. apply national and international legal research tools, databases and search engines in order to 2. apply the logocratic method on selected individual cases out of various jurisdictions.

Accordingly, students will learn to identify the specific logical mode of legal arguments, to critically reflect on their use and their strength in a comparative way across various national and international legal orders and legal cultures, to use various national and international online research tools for comparative law purposes, and to participate in an international blended learning environment.

Assessment and permitted materials

Grading for this class is based on three components: active participation during class sessions and working group preparation; oral presentation of a case study as part of a joint working group effort; written paper summarizing the orally presented case analysis incl. comparative aspects.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

In order to obtain a positive grade, students have to be present in class on a regular basis (and cannot miss more than 2 sessions) and actively contribute to discussions of the content of the introductory sessions offered by the lecturers and of the case study presentations offered by the students. They have to form part of a student working group preparing comparative case studies outside class and involving blended learning exercises (amounting to 25% of the overall grade). Participants have to present a case study analysis in class as a result out of such a comparative and thematically coherent group work preparation and discuss it together with the lecturers and peer student groups (amounting to 50% of the total grade). Finally they have to contribute to a group paper with a written summary of their case study (amounting to 25% of the final grade).

Examination topics

The case studies to be presented in class as part of one of the thematic working group's comparative case analysis have to be based on the basic analytical concepts and tools provided during the introductory class sessions and guiding class materials. By applying the logocratic method, students have to identify the particular modes of logical inference enshrined in the arguments present in the selected case law examples and to critically analyze the particular strengths and weaknesses these arguments reflect. Participants have to make an effort to formally represent rule and argument "enthymemes" and to identify the basic logical form of such arguments (whether they are presented as a valid or strong deductive, inductive, abductive, or analogical argument).

Reading list

Materials listed and available in the blended learning tool: https://lawandlogic.org