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Grant number: FA-58287-15

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FA-58287-15

John F. Horty
University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD 20742-5141)

Common Law Reasoning

The aim of this project is to develop a new theory of common law reasoning. Special attention is focused on the doctrine of precedent, according to which the decisions of earlier courts constrain the decisions of later courts, while still allowing these later courts a degree of freedom. It is often thought that the constraints of precedent are carried through rules. In recent work, however, I have developed a new model according to which precedential constraint is a matter of reasons, rather than rules. The development of the law is thus pictured, not as the elaboration of an increasingly complex system of rules, but as the gradual construction a priority ordering on reasons. Later courts are constrained to respect the priorities established by earlier courts, but can strengthen the ordering with new decisions of their own. I propose to expand this line of research, and to assemble the resulting material into a book.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Ethics; Logic; Philosophy, Other

Program:
Fellowships for University Teachers

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2015 – 8/31/2016