Law School Discussion

Legal Reasoning

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #250 on: November 17, 2007, 09:43:44 AM »

Don't forget thou that money is speech! :)


I guess it refers to a Supreme Court doctrine maintaining that money equals speech.

Which case specifically?

I don't think, c a u s u a l, that that case "equated" money with speech in the sense you'd be interested.

Re: All horses are the same color
« Reply #251 on: November 20, 2007, 09:45:50 AM »

Well, I guess it's fun time, so here's another puzzle for ya!

On an island, there are k people who have blue eyes, and the rest of the people have green eyes. There is at least one blue-eyed person on the island (k equals or is more than 1). If a person ever knows herself to have blue eyes, she must leave the island at dawn the next day. Each person can see every other persons' eye color, there are no mirrors, and there is no discussion of eye color. At some point, an outsider comes to the island and makes the following public announcement, heard and understood by all people there: "At least one of you has blue eyes". What is the eventual outcome?

Indeed a delectable fantasy -- in which the sole disappointment is that it didn't actually occur! :)

You mean that one?! Of course it did!

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #252 on: November 22, 2007, 01:24:55 PM »
Awesome thread!


Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #253 on: November 24, 2007, 02:51:42 PM »

[...] If one travels along the path described by this 7-pointed figure, one goes through a movement similar to the one described by the 6-pointed figure in the Enneagram. The Enneagram could have been drawn in such a way as to avoid using a 6-pointed figure. In other words, it was not because of the absence of adequate seven-pointed figures on which to map the 7-tone scale that Enneagram was chosen, with its 6-pointed figure.

According to Gurdjieff the enneagram figure is a symbol that represents the "law of seven" and the "law of three" (the two fundamental universal laws) and, therefore, the figure can be used to describe any natural whole phenomenon, cosmos, process in life or any other piece of knowledge. The basic use of the enneagram is to explain why nothing in nature and in life constantly occurs in a straight line, that is to say that there are always ups and downs in life which occur lawfully. Easier examples of this can be noticed in athletic performances, where a high ranked athlete always has periodic downfalls, as well as in nearly all graphs that plot topics that occur over time, such as the economic graphs, population graphs, death-rate graphs and so on. All show parabolic periods that keep rising and falling. Gurdjieff claimed that since these periods occur lawfully based on the Enneagram that it is possible to keep a process in a straight line if the necessary shocks were introduced at the right time.

The principal enneagram figure used by the Fourth Way and Gurdjieff is a circle with nine points. Within the circle is a triangle connecting points 9, 3 and 6. The inscribed figure resembling a web connects the other six points in a cyclic figure 1-4-2-8-5-7. This enneagram's construction is based on the laws of octaves. The enneagram's construction is also constructed lawfully on the same laws as the decimal system. If the enneagram is used to represent a whole octave of notes and the number 1, then by dividing 1 into seven different notes...

7/7=.999999... can be noticed that all of these fractions, except in the case of the last one, are made up of the same numbers running in a definite sequence, and by joining those numbers on the figure the given web-like shape is obtained. Also, if the web is used in an explanation, by knowing the initial number of the period it is possible to immediately re-establish the whole period in full.

On the enneagram most processes are represented through octaves where the points serve as the notes; a concept which is derived from Gurdjieff’s idea of the law of seven. In an octave the developing process comes to a critical point (one of the triangle points) at which help from outside is needed for it to rightly continue. This concept is best illustrated on the keys of the piano where every white key would represent an enneagram point. The adjacent white keys which are missing a black key (half note) in between represent the enneagram web points which have a triangle point in between. In order that this point would pass onto the next, an external push is required.

Using the enneagram a process is depicted as going right around the circle beginning at point 9 (the ending point of a previous process). The process can continue until it reaches point 3. At this point an external aid is needed in order that the process continues. If it doesn't receive the 'help' the process will stop evolving and will devolve back into the form from which it evolved. The process continues until point 6 and later 9, where a similar "push" is needed. If the process passes point 9 the initial process will end while giving birth to a new one.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #254 on: December 05, 2007, 12:08:42 PM »

At one time or another, all of us have wondered what we'd do in the face of death. Suddenly confronted with his own mortality after a routine check-up, distinguished psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld is forced to reexamine his life and work. He feels compelled to contact his patients of long ago. Has he really made an enduring difference in their lives? And what about the patients he failed to help? What has happened to them? Now that he was wiser and riper, can he rescue them yet? Reaching beyond the safety of his thriving San Francisco practice, Julius feels compelled to seek out Philip Slate, whom he treated for sex addiction some 23 years earlier. At that time, Philip's only means of connecting to humans was through brief sexual interludes with countless women, and Julius's therapy did not change that. He meets with Philip who claims to have cured himself -- by reading the pessimistic and misanthropic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.

Much to Julius's surprise, Philip has become a philosophical counselor and requests that Julius provide him with the supervisory hours he needs to obtain a license to practice. In return, Philip offers to tutor Julius in the work of Schopenhauer. Julius hesitates. How can Philip possibly become a therapist? He is still the same arrogant, uncaring, self-absorbed person he had always been. In fact, in every way he resembles his mentor, Schopenhauer. But eventually they strike a Faustian bargain: Julius agrees to supervise Philip, provided that Philip first join his therapy group. Julius is hoping that 6 months with the group will address Philip's misanthropy and that by being part of a circle of fellow patients he will develop the relationship skills necessary to become a therapist.

Philip enters the group, but he is more interested in educating the members in Schopenhauer's philosophy -- which he claims is all the therapy anyone should need-than he is in their (or his) individual problems. Soon Julius and Philip, using very different therapy approaches, are competing for the hearts and minds of the group members. Is this going to be Julius's swan song -- a splintered group and years of good work down the drain? Or will all the members, including Philip, find a way to rise to the occasion that brings with it the potential for extraordinary change. This novel knits together fact and fiction and contains an accurate portrayal of group therapy in action as well as a presentation of the life and influence of Arthur Schopenhauer, Philip's personal guru and professional inspiration.

Great signature, colombus!

l n

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #255 on: December 08, 2007, 09:38:20 AM »


Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.

Great signature, colombus!

Well, Vera, Oprah should know since she appears to have done exactly what others consider the "right" thing. 

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #256 on: December 19, 2007, 09:39:01 AM »


Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.

Great signature, colombus!

Well, Vera, Oprah should know since she appears to have done exactly what others consider the "right" thing. 

She's just trying to calm herself down -- everyone knows it.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #257 on: December 19, 2007, 05:19:45 PM »
Awesome thread!

Re: Legal Sophistry
« Reply #258 on: December 24, 2007, 11:34:12 AM »

Here are the common logical fallacies that are crucial for a good lawyer to condemn theoretically and apply practically:

Fallacies of Distraction

False Dilemma
Definition: A limited number of options (usually two) is given, while in reality there are more options. A false dilemma is an illegitimate use of the "or" operator.
Putting issues or opinions into "black or white" terms is a common instance of this fallacy.

Either you're for me or against me.
America: love it or leave it.
Either support Meech Lake or Quebec will separate.
Every person is either wholly good or wholly evil.

Argumentum ad Ignorantiam

Arguments of this form assume that since something has not been proven false, it is therefore true. Conversely, such an argument may assume that since something has not been proven true, it is therefore false. (This is a special case of a false dilemma, since it assumes that all propositions must either be known to be true or known to be false.) As Davis writes, "Lack of proof is not proof." (p. 59)

Since you cannot prove that ghosts do not exist, they must exist.
Since scientists cannot prove that global warming will occur, it probably won't.
Fred said that he is smarter than Jill, but he didn't prove it, so it must be false.

Slippery Slope

In order to show that a proposition P is unacceptable, a sequence of increasingly unacceptable events is shown to follow from P. A slippery slope is an illegitimate use of the "if-then" operator.

If we pass laws against fully-automatic weapons, then it won't be long before we pass laws on all weapons, and then we will begin to restrict other rights, and finally we will end up living in a communist state. Thus, we should not ban fully-automatic weapons.
You should never gamble. Once you start gambling you find it hard to stop. Soon you are spending all your money on gambling, and eventually you will turn to crime to support your earnings.
If I make an exception for you then I have to make an exception for everyone.

Complex Question

Two otherwise unrelated points are conjoined and treated as a single proposition. The reader is expected to accept or reject both together, when in reality one is acceptable while the other is not. A complex question is an illegitimate use of the "and" operator.

You should support home education and the God-given right of parents to raise their children according to their own beliefs.
Do you support freedom and the right to bear arms?

Have you stopped using illegal sales practises? (This asks two questions: did you use illegal practises, and did you stop?)

Common media for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, historical revision, junk science, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters. In the case of radio and television, propaganda can exist on news, current-affairs or talk-show segments, as advertising or public-service announce "spots" or as long-running advertorials. Propaganda campaigns often follow a strategic transmission pattern to indoctrinate the target group. This may begin with a simple transmission such as a leaflet dropped from a plane or an advertisement. Generally these messages will contain directions on how to obtain more information, via a web site, hot line, radio program, et cetera (as it is seen also for selling purposes among other goals). The strategy intends to initiate the individual from information recipient to information seeker through reinforcement, and then from information seeker to opinion leader through indoctrination.

A number of techniques which are based on social psychological research are used to generate propaganda. Many of these same techniques can be found under logical fallacies, since propagandists use arguments that, while sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid.

Now, the propaganda model is a theory advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky that alleges systemic biases in the mass media and seeks to explain them in terms of structural economic causes. "The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media, the propaganda model views the private media as businesses selling a product — readers and audiences (rather than news) — to other businesses (advertisers).

The first three (ownership, funding, and sourcing) are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important. Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles which the model postulates as the cause of media biases. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Chomsky stated that the new filter replacing communism would be terrorism and Islam.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #259 on: December 26, 2007, 01:11:19 PM »

Indeed, Simpson's acquittal and subsequent stiffing of the victim's families confirmed that the rich, famous and powerful have the deep pockets to hire a "dream team" of lawyers, a small army of high priced, high-profile attorneys, expert witnesses, experts and investigators that routinely mangle the legal system to stall, delay, and drag out their cases and eventually allow their well-heeled clients to weasel out of punishment and payment. Since most Americans can't afford anything resembling the type of legal star treatment Simpson got, it affirmed their belief that justice is for sale and that the rich, famous and powerful will always escape punishment. Even when prosecutors manage to win convictions against celebrities such as Winona Ryder and Martha Stewart, their money, fame, power and legal twisting often guarantee that they will do minimal jail time in a cushy country club prison, or none at all.

If a poll were taken today, a majority of whites would still rage that Simpson is a murderer who skipped away scot-free and scream that the trial and his acquittal were a farce and a blatant travesty of justice. In the same poll, a majority of blacks would rage that Simpson was victimized by a white racist criminal justice system and the verdict was a just one. The periodic news clips of Simpson in the years since the trial have shown a cheerful and relaxed Simpson golfing, vacationing, signing autographs and football collectors cards and taking an ill-fated stab at a reality show. Simpson comes off as a devil-may-care guy that laughs at and thumbs his nose at the public. This hasn't done much to endear him to anyone, let alone make the case go away.

And don't get me started about that @ # ! * i n g piece of *&^% Johnny Cochran who brought racism and prejudice up again and again. The scientific evidence against the n i g g a was overwhelming, yet Cochran successfully used race to give credibility to his defense. While it was undisputable that Simpson was an abusive master of Nicole Simpson, he described Nicole as a "very strong independent woman" and Simpson as a "member of a mutual relationship that was not master/servant in nature." In introducing the American "tradition" of slavery, Cochran insidiously reminded jurors that oppression, in the form of racism and white-on-black crime, still exists today. While Simpson was in effect a jealous chauvinist pig, he said that Simpson never stalked Nicole and even let other friends of hers get married at his house.

The social event which interested me about Simpson trial was not so much the connection between wealth and acquittal. Though it is a disappointment, I was not so suprised about that. The thing which interested me, was how public support for Simpson or for the prosecution followed roughly racial lines.

This suggests to me a variety of associations. One is that many black Americans are for some reason racial thinkers -- the support was almost undeniably black, while the opposition had people of many colors. The reason could be general lack of education, or general cultural separatism (or, among a number of other options, just plain unmotivated math, though that is unlikely). Both are well documented. Folks who ain't too bright think he didn't do it just cuz he's black. What assumption has the author used in the syllogism above?

Another association which I find deplorable is the issue of spousal abuse. The Simpson trial should rightly have been couched as a question of domestic violence and the irresponsibility of male partners in marriages, and sadly the African American community generally is remarkably weak in that regard already. That the members of that community then derailed a discussion which could have been valid and helpful to them -- that of male irresponsibility and violence against spouses -- to retrack it on a line that neither bore much relation to the evidence, nor served their community's best interests because it ignored the real issue ... well, that was a disappointment to me. It was a chance for America's blacks to think clearly, recognize a rot at the core of things, and perhaps address it. They dropped the ball. As one of Nicole Brown Simpson's sisters said at some press conference or other (I paraphrase, "If he says he's going to kill you, he probably is, and you need to seek protection.") The more germane spousal-abuse issue was largely left uninvestigated amid the cries for or against the "race card."

A third association is simply, the one of publicity. I watched the verdict live on TV. How many Americans can say, "I was there" about (for example) Congressional hearings about the deteriorating wetlands in Louisiana, the Carolinas, and Florida? Or Greenspan's last pronouncements about interest rates? We as a society take an interest in that which has a sound byte, a sudden and decisive impact at a moment of decision. We don't like long slow committee processes and an eventually carefully drafted report. Rather, we want drama, a sudden moment of decisive pressure, an all-or-nothing break. Courtrooms are good drama: the choices are near to absolute and the stakes are high. It's probably just human nature, but it's dissappointing that people who probably can't identify the Vice President or the Attorney General (when we HAVE one ...) watched in rapt attention to one defendant's verdict in a jurisdiction thousands of miles away from their own homes.

But I'm generalizing about social groups, here, and about the roles of popular impression and interpretation of the trial thanks to the media. That's not really on topic for this thread. I'm departing from the strictly rational questions of legality. And anyway I'm only a pre-LSAT prepper. I don't belong here at all. :)