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Logic for Lawyers : A Guide to Clear Legal Thinking Edition: third Paperback – 2001
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book's outstanding revelation to me was neither its (useful) discussion of deductive or inductive reasoning (which, to me, were comparatively elementary), nor syllogistic reasoning (which to me was not only elementary but problematic).
The book's discussion of "formal" fallacies, including syllogisms, is interesting and worthwhile, and knowledge of the existence of these formal fallacies is important. However, I question the need, as a criteria of reasoning validity, of strict, universal application of these formal reasoning structures to an analysis and evaluation of judicial opinions or practical legal reasoning.
This book's blockbuster revelation to me was its discussion of "informal" fallacies, including the need for developing one's skill in recognizing or spotting "informal" fallacies in the reasoning of others - and in avoiding the commission of "informal" fallacies in one's own reasoning.
Other reviewers of this book comment on the need for studying a course on logic, as an adjunct to this book. I agree, with a qualification. I feel the greatest need, in practical or legal reasoning, is for treatises providing in-depth analysis of each "informal" fallacy. Fortunately, such treatises are now beginning to appear.
Another significant deficiency in modern logic textbooks is their failure to provide compelling and unique examples of the "informal" fallacies noted (on a theoretical basis) in these textbooks. In this area of illustrative examples, Judge Aldisert's book contains a treasure trove of numerous examples of "informal" fallacies, the value of which is enhanced by the fact that they are all discussed in the context of judicial opinions from court cases, which Judge Aldisert quotes in his text.
No matter how many treatises regarding "informal" fallacies which have now appeared and will now appear in the future, Judge Aldisert's book will always remain on my bookshelf - this book remains my "first stop" in my search for relevant issues of "legal logic."
My award of "five stars" to this book is not because this book is definitive (it is not), but because it is seminal, and in my heart and mind, is a classic, and remains an indispensable, introductory overview to any prospective law student or practitioner.
DO NOT expect, however, that you will have A+ easily in most law classes after reading this book. Success in lawschool or any other law-related classes in gradschool/college depends on many things. A sharp legal mind alone can be frustrated by laziness. Besides, although the knowledge in this book looks like a long list of recipes that will help you ace whatever classes, it only provides you a minimum amount of prerequisites that you'd better consider as a "must have", rather than a "luxurious decor"