Law School Discussion

Legal Reasoning

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #350 on: August 21, 2008, 05:07:41 PM »

I guess so, copula - sometimes the site does not allow you to log in no matter what! You've to set up another account risking being called an 'imposter' since any one can use the previous poster's username and avatar in order to somehow give the impression s/he is indeed the real thing.

Great username, Mona Lisa! The smile on the face of the Mona Lisa is so enigmatic that it disappears when it is looked at directly, says a US scientist. Professor Margaret Livingstone of Harvard University said the smile only became apparent when the viewer looked at other parts of the painting. The smile disappeared when it was looked at because of the way the human eye processes visual information. The eye uses two types of vision, foveal and peripheral. Foveal, or direct vision, is excellent at picking up detail but is less suited to picking up shadows. The elusive quality of the Mona Lisa's smile can be explained by the fact that her smile is almost entirely in low spatial frequencies, and so is seen best by your peripheral vision. The more a person stares fixedly ahead, the less useful is their peripheral vision. The best example of this effect was if someone was to stare at a letter on a page of print. Concentrating on one letter made it difficult to pick out other letters even a short distance away. The smile only became apparent if a viewer looked at her eyes or elsewhere on her face.

I guess we'd need the services of analysts to reduce the ambiguity of this highly ambiguous situation - with the ambiguity, I'd assume, deliberately created by Leonardo.

I have the impression you can never ever get anything out of looking at the picture - she's so enigmatic, as if she's telling you smth along the lines, "You can go ahead and @ # ! * yourself!"

Re: Post hoc ergo propter hoc
« Reply #351 on: August 25, 2008, 02:08:57 PM »


Abduction means determining α. It is using the postcondition and the rule to assume that the precondition could explain the postcondition (β ∧ R1 ⇒ α).


- Abduction allows inferring a as an explanation of b. Because of this, abduction allows the precondition a of "a entails b" to be inferred from the consequence b. Deduction and abduction thus differ in the direction in which a rule like "a entails b" is used for inference. As such abduction is formally equivalent to the logical fallacy affirming the consequent.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because (on account) of this", is a logical fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) which states, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one." It is often shortened to simply post hoc and is also sometimes referred to as false cause, coincidental correlation or correlation not causation. It is subtly different from the fallacy cum hoc ergo propter hoc, in which the chronological ordering of a correlation is insignificant. Post hoc is a particularly tempting error because temporal sequence appears to be integral to causality. The fallacy lies in coming to a conclusion based solely on the order of events, rather than taking into account other factors that might rule out the connection. Most familiarly, many superstitious beliefs and magical thinking arise from this fallacy.


The form of the post hoc fallacy can be expressed as follows:

A occurred, then B occurred.
Therefore, A caused B.
When B is undesirable, this pattern is often extended in reverse: Avoiding A will prevent B.

Cause & Effect: Logical Reasoning

Never have heard of this "abductive" reasoning you mention having been taken seriously by anyone ... take for instance the issue of figuring out a criminal suspect - there are two approaches.

By induction, assuming that the criminal has similar characteristics and motives to other people who have perpetrated that particular crime (a repeat rapist who attacks white women is most likely not black).

The second approach is by means of deductive reasoning - you study carefully the suspect's actions and explain the situation by means of the evidence you find in the process (your suspect's clothes can not be dry when it had been raining all day). You draw inferences about the criminals' behaviors based on work experience, gut feelings, and the motivation of the offender. This form of deductive profiling is where the profiler assumes one or more facts as self-evident about a crime or offender and then, following his experience and hunches, arrives at other facts commonly called conclusions.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #352 on: August 26, 2008, 07:40:34 PM »
Here it is an interesting approach on the subject:

I live for science. It fascinates me. By trade, I am a real Criminal Profiler. There has always been a problem with profiling in the early day in the FBI (deductive profiling. I use Inductive profiling or another word for it is Behavioral analysis of crime scenes (a way to have any lay-person be able to reproduce the same results as I produce). Using the scientific method, it is a way to NOT accuse the wrong person. The deductive way makes assumptions and lands innocent people in jail or prison all the time. Here is an example of deductive thinking:

Neighbor 1: "Hi, there, new neighbor, it sure is a mighty nice day to be moving."
New Neighbor: "Yes, it is, and people around here seem extremely friendly."
Neighbor 1: "So what is it you do for a living?"
New Neighbor: "I am a professor at the University; I teach deductive reasoning."
Neighbor 1: "Deductive reasoning-- what is that?"
New Neighbor: "Let me give you an example. I see you have a dog house out back. By that I deduce that you have a dog."
Neighbor 1: "That is right."
New Neighbor: "The fact that you have a dog leads me to deduce that you have a family."
Neighbor 1: "Right again."
New Neighbor: "Since you have a family I deduce that you have a wife."
Neighbor 1: "Correct!"
New Neighbor: "And since you have a wife, I can deduce that you are heterosexual."
Neighbor 1: "Yup."
New Neighbor: "That is deductive reasoning."
Neighbor 1: "Cool."

Later that same day

Neighbor 1: "Hey, I was talking to that new guy who moved in next door."
Neighbor 2: "Is he a nice guy?"
Neighbor 1: "Yes, and he has an interesting job."
Neighbor 2: "Oh, what does he do?"
Neighbor 1: "He's a professor of deductive reasoning at the University."
Neighbor 2: "Deductive reasoning-- what is that?"
Neighbor 1: "Let me give you an example. Do you have a dog house?"
Neighbor 2: "No."
Neighbor 1: "Fag."

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #353 on: August 27, 2008, 10:29:53 AM »
Pretty effective at making the point, u03! I was curious, though, how exactly does inductive profiling work; I mean, the specifics of it...

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #354 on: August 28, 2008, 04:13:49 PM »

Pretty effective at making the point, u03! I was curious, though, how exactly does inductive profiling work; I mean, the specifics of it...

Senator Larry E. Craig used a dirty word as he explained how in June 2007 he wound up suspected of cruising for sex: profiling. Mr. Craig said the police officer working undercover in the next stall at a Minneapolis airport bathroom had lumped him neatly into the behavioral profile of someone on the prowl: the wide stance, the toe-tapping, the upward-facing palm, the flash of a wedding ring. In the well-developed profile of how a man intending to engage in lewd conduct in that bathroom behaved, the gestures added up to a coded message. The police were using a common tactic that has received less attention than the widely criticized practice of racial profiling (or gender, age, weight, ethnic or religious profiling, for that matter). That sort of profiling targets suspects based on their innate attributes, not on what they say or do.

But behavioral profiling, highly nuanced, draws heavily from cognitive psychology and, often, on the personal experiences with previous crimes and the subjective interpretations of the profilers. In an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC Mr. Craig said: "I now know that this cop is this officer is a profiler. He said looking into a stall was one of it, and then a hand gesture or foot tap is another one. Now I know all about profiling. I know what people feel like when they're profiled, when innocent people get caught up in what I was caught in as an innocent person. It's very angering at times."

There are essentially two kinds of profiling, inductive and deductive. Inductive profiling, as was the approach in Mr. Craig's case, uses statistical probability and behavioral clues from previous offenders to create cookie-cutter profiles and predict the likelihood of a future crime. Deductive profiling involves analyzing the evidence a tire track, DNA, a bloody knife after the crime occurs in order to create a profile of that offender and use it to catch him. Behavioral clues, on the other hand, can range from the physical to the ethereal. For example, the possession of cold medicine, mason jars, rubber tubing, coffee filters and brake fluid would quickly lead investigators to suspect someone of intending to produce methamphetamine. A traveler with a stack of small bills, with only carry-on luggage and a one-way ticket, could easily be suspected of being a drug courier. Tattoos and the color of clothing and even more obvious, a grab at the waist as if to draw a gun are basic clues to gang activity.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #355 on: August 28, 2008, 06:53:51 PM »
Inductive reasoning works from observation (or observations) toward generalizations and theories. This is also called a "bottom-up" approach. Inductive reason starts from specific observations (or measurement if you are mathematician or more precisely statistician), look for patterns (or no patterns), regularities (or irregularities), formulate hypothesis that we could work with and finally ending up developing general theories or drawing conclusions. In a conclusion, when we use Induction we observe a number of specific instances and from them infer a general principle or law. Inductive reasoning is open-ended and exploratory especially at the beginning. Induction is ampliative. The conclusion of an inductive argument has content that goes beyond the content of its premises. A correct inductive argument may have true premises and a false conclusion. Induction is not necessarily truth preserving. New premises may completely undermine a strong inductive argument. Inductive arguments come in different degrees of strength. In some inductions the premises support the conclusions more strongly than in others.

The major disadvantages of the Inductive Criminal Profiling model are equally apparent to the critical thinker. First, the information itself is generalized from limited population samples, and not specifically related to any one case, therefore it is not by its nature intended for reconstructing a "profile" of an individual person. It is a generalized set of representations, averaged from a small group of individuals who may or may not have been appropriately sampled, depending on the knowledge and ability of the person collecting and assembling the data.

Second, and perhaps most commonly noted, is that inductive profiles are generalized and averaged from the limited data collected only from known, apprehended offenders. An Inductive Criminal Profile does not fully or accurately take into account current offenders who are at large, therefore it is by its very nature missing datasets from the most intelligent or skillful criminal populations; the criminals who are successful in continually avoiding detection by law enforcement.

A third major disadvantage is that, as with any such generalization, an Inductive Criminal Profile is going to contain specific inaccuracies that can and have been used to implicate innocent individuals. This occurs when an Inductive Criminal Profile is used as some sort of infallible predictive measure by an unprofessional, trigger-happy profiler. Recent examples include the 1996 case of Richard Jewell in the "Olympic Park Bombing" and, also in 1996, the Colin Stagg profile debacle in Great Britain. 
Assumptions of the Inductive Criminal Profiling model include: 

- Small groups of known offenders, who commit the same types of crimes as unknown offenders, have commonly shared individual characteristics that can be accurately generalized back to initially similar individual unknown offenders. 
- Offenders who have committed crimes in the past are culturally similar to current offenders, being influenced by at least similar environmental conditions and existing with the same general and sometimes specific motivations. 
- Individual human behavior and characteristics can be generalized and even predicted from the initial statistical analysis of characteristics and behaviour in very small samples. 
- Behavior and motivation do not change within an individual over time, being static, predictable characteristics.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #356 on: August 28, 2008, 06:54:28 PM »
Deductive reasoning works from the "general" to the "specific". This is also called a "top-down" approach. The deductive reasoning works as follows: think of a theory about topic and then narrow it down to specific hypothesis (hypothesis that we test or can test). Narrow down further if we would like to collect observations for hypothesis (note that we collect observations to accept or reject hypothesis and the reason we do that is to confirm or refute our original theory). In a conclusion, when we use deduction we reason from general principles to specific cases, as in applying a mathematical theorem to a particular problem or in citing a law or physics to predict the outcome of an experiment. In a valid deductive argument, all of the content of the conclusion is present, at least implicitly, in the premises. Deduction is nonampliative. If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Valid deduction is necessarily truth preserving. If new premises are added to a valid deductive argument (and none of its premises are changed or deleted) the argument remains valid. Deductive validity is an all-or-nothing matter; validity does not come in degrees. An argument is totally valid, or it is invalid.

Deductive Criminal Profiling is also useful for thoroughly establishing Modus Operandi behavior, as well as offender signature behaviour, which assists in the linkage of seemingly unrelated crimes. The Modus Operandi, or MO behaviour, or method of operation, is a dynamic, learned behaviour, changing over time, as the offender becomes more experienced. It involves only those actions that are necessary to commit the offense. 
Signature behavior, or the signature aspect of criminal behavior, is comprised of those behaviors not required to commit the offense. Signature is comprised of significant personality identifiers that distinguish the nature of the offender's crime scene methodology. These significant and highly individualized personality identifiers are evident in such things as: 
- When an offender repeatedly engages in a specific order of sexual activity; 
- When an offender repeatedly uses a specific type of binding; 
- When an offender inflicts similar types of injuries to different victims; 
- When an offender displays the body in a certain manner for shock value; 
- When an offender tortures and/or mutilates his victims, and/or engages in some other form of specific ritualistic behavior.
The disadvantages of Deductive Criminal Profiling are also well worth noting. First is that it is not a quick fix or a cure all; it requires a great deal of effort and multi-disciplinary skill on the part of each member of the investigative team. Second, because it is such an intensive process, it can be extremely emotionally exhausting. Investigators that learn to use these techniques should take care to be emotionally grounded individuals and not be afraid to discuss any emotional difficulties with those close to them. And third, a Deductive Criminal Profile cannot not point out a specific known individual and say with confidence that they are likely responsible for a certain crime or series of crimes unless that offender's unique signature is known and established. 
Assumptions of the Deductive Criminal Profiling method include: 
- No offender acts without motivation. 
- Every single offence should be investigated as its own unique behavioral and motivational existent. Given the nature of human behaviour, no two cases are really ever alike. 
- Some offenders have unique motivations and/or behaviours that should be individuated from other similar offenders. 
- All human behaviour develops uniquely, over time, in response to environmental and biological factors. 
- Criminal MO behaviour can evolve over time and over the commission of multiple offences. 
- A single offender is capable of multiple motives over the commission of multiple offences, or even during the commission of a single offence. 
- Statistical generalizations and experiential theorizing, while sometimes helpful, are incomplete and can ultimately mislead an investigation, and encourage investigative laziness. When we think that we have all of the answers in a case, not only might we only collect evidence that fits those answers, we might think that a thorough investigation is no longer requisite at all.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #357 on: August 29, 2008, 06:16:31 PM »
Many people distinguish between two basic kinds of argument: inductive and deductive. Induction is usually described as moving from the specific to the general, while deduction begins with the general and ends with the specific; arguments based on experience or observation are best expressed inductively, while arguments based on laws, rules, or other widely accepted principles are best expressed deductively. Consider the following example:     

Adham: I've noticed previously that every time I kick a ball up, it comes back down, so I guess this next time when I kick it up, it will come back down, too.

Rizik: That's Newton's Law. Everything that goes up must come down. And so, if you kick the ball up, it must come down.
Adham is using inductive reasoning, arguing from observation, while Rizik is using deductive reasoning, arguing from the law of gravity. Rizik's argument is clearly from the general (the law of gravity) to the specific (this kick); Adham's argument may be less obviously from the specific (each individual instance in which he has observed balls being kicked up and coming back down) to the general (the prediction that a similar event will result in a similar outcome in the future) because he has stated it in terms only of the next similar event -- the next time he kicks the ball. As you can see, the difference between inductive and deducative reasoning is mostly in the way the arguments are expressed. Any inductive argument can also be expressed deductively, and any deductive argument can also be expressed inductively.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #358 on: September 02, 2008, 02:20:33 PM »

[...] one becomes "re-socialized," learns to "think like a lawyer," learns to cope with stress and many other things collateral to learning law, but not collateral to "lawyering." Like boot camp (or virginity's loss!), when you enter law school, your life turns a corner past which it can never again pass. Don't get me wrong, I do not regret the trip ... but it brings a permanent change. [...]

Well, I did not finish law school, but I can tell you once you get in law school your life really turns a corner past which it can never again pass... you never forget the whole experience, it stays with you forever I guess..

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #359 on: September 02, 2008, 04:17:23 PM »

Well, I did not finish law school, but I can tell you once you get in law school your life really turns a corner past which it can never again pass... you never forget the whole experience, it stays with you forever I guess.

Will you finish it up?