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“[E]very legal analysis should begin at the point of reason, continue

along a path of logic and arrive at a fundamentally fair result.”

(Sunrise Lumber v. Johnson, Appeal No. 165)

I. Introduction

In this paper, we introduce Logic and its application to the legal

We will discuss a number of ways in which logic has been used in the field
of legal profession. We will also list some of the significance on why logic is very
important. Legal profession is of vital importance, touching the lives of all people.

Generally, our decision making involves the mind (or the brain) sensory
mechanism, perception, cognition and the expression of results. We often will
feel, perceive, think, remember and reason in an adaptive conscious and
unconscious manner. In our daily lives, when we are faced with problems or just
a situation which requires a decision, we are often reminded to apply logic and
reasoning for the most desired results. Hence, this is a basic reason why logic
and reason are so essential in our lives. 1
II. Logic

The history of logic deals with the study of the development of the science
of valid inference. Formal logics developed in ancient times in China, India and
Greece/ Greek methods, particularly Aristotelian logic (or term logic) as found in
Organon, found wide application and acceptance in Western science and
mathematics for millennia. 2 The Stoics, especially Chrysippus, began the
development of predicate logic.
Christian and Islamic philosophers such as Boethuis (died 524) and
William of Ockham (died 1347) further developed Aristotle’s logic in the Middle
Ages, reaching a high point in the mid- fourteenth century. The period between

Romeo Q . Locson Jr., General Importance of Logic, Reasoning and Common sense in our daily lives.
Nicholas Bunnin; Jiyuan Yu (2004). The Blackwell dictionary of Western philosophy. Wiley- Blackwell. p.

the fourteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century saw largely
decline and neglect, and at least one historian of logic regards this time in
barren. 3
Logic revived in the mid- nineteenth century, at the beginning of a
revolutionary period when the subject developed into a rigorous and formal
discipline which took as it exemplar the exact method of proof used in
mathematics, a harkening back to the Greek tradition. The development of the
modern “symbolic” and “mathematical” logic is the most significant during in the
two- thousand- year history of logic and is arguably one of the most important
and remarkable events in human intellectual history.
Progress in mathematical logic in the first few decades of the twentieth
century, particularly the works of Godel and Tarski which had a significant impact
on analytical philosophy and philosophical logic, particularly from the 1950s
onwards, in subjects such as modal logic, temporal logic, deontic logic, and
relevance logic.
The term Logic is derived from the Greek work logos which means
primarily the word by which the inward thought is expressed and, secondarily, the
inward thought or reason itself 4. Logic may be defined as the science of the
principles and conditions of correct thinking. It is concerned with the quest of
knowledge of truth, and is also a study of the validity or correctness of
reasoning 5. Further, as the science of the laws and principles which govern the
reasoning process. logic familiarizes us with the rules and canons to which right
reasoning processes conform, and with the hidden fallacies and pitfalls to which
such processes are commonly exposed. Also, it deals with arguments and
inferences; one of its main purposes is to provide methods for distinguishing
those which are logically correct from those which are not 6.

Logical reasoning considered to be essential for the success of people in

school and daily life and all kinds of scientific discoveries. 7 Man as a being is
endowed with the reason to think and make decisions in his daily life, and is still
subject to limitations and imperfections. To improve his innate and practical
reasoning, it is but more advantageous for him to learn the mechanics, rules and

L. T. F. Gamut (1991). Logic, language and meaning, Volume 1: Introduction to Logic. University of
Chicago Press. pp. 156- 157. ISBN 978-0-2alidity and truth26-28085-1.
Baldecema, D.Y., Armada R.Q. and Tuibeo A.G. (1984) Basic Concepts of logic and ethics. Manila: Katha
Publishing Con, Inc.
Glenn, P.J. (1952). The history of Philosophy USA: Herder Book Co.
Bachhuber, A.R. (1996) Introduction to logic. Manila: National Book Store, Inc.
Johnson-Laird P. (2006). How we reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press

principles to guide and direct him in his reasoning process. For this reason, the
study of Logic becomes imperative, as justified by the following:
1. The study of Logic develops in the learner the skills to reason out
with order, validity, truth and accuracy.
2. The knowledge of Logic helps to prevent us from committing
grave error in the acts of reasoning and thinking.
3. It is a necessary aid in evaluating and understanding other
4. It is a tool in discerning validity and truth of propositions and
5. It prevents us from making conclusions based on false and
biased assumptions.
6. Logic contributes to the growth of the individual, improving the
quality of his life.
7. Logic builds in the individual self- confidence, provides a feeling
of direction, and gives assurance of being in control of one’s
situation 8.

Logic creates a system by which a conscious mind can apply a set of

principles to any problem or argument to determine its validity. It entails more
effort than just thinking and helps understand the reasoning. Logic gives
relevance to the facts and arguments which makes consistent and persuasive
decisions. Further, the function of logical reasoning and the connection with the
law is to secure the efficient application of legal principles.
III. Logic and Law

Practice of law means any activity in or out of court, which requires the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To
engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of
a profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of
service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal
knowledge or skill. 9 Further, the practice of law is fundamentally argumentative. It
deals with subjects in controversy, and its primary aim is the settlement of
disputes - sometimes by persuasive methods out of court and sometimes in
fiercely contested legal battles - in either instance the instrument of reasoning
playing a dominant part. 10
Agapay, R.B. (1991). Logic: the essential of deductive reasoning. Mandaluyong City: national Book
Store, Inc.
Cayetano v. Monsod, 201 SCRA 210
Logic and law, Nicholas F. Lucas, 1919

It is sometimes said that law is applied logic. Obviously, this epigrammatic
statement has a foundation of truth, for the practice of law is fundamentally
argumentative. It deals with subjects in controversy, and its primary aim is the
settlement of disputes- sometimes by persuasive methods out of court and
sometimes in fiercely contested legal battles - in either instance the instrument of
reasoning playing a dominant part. 11

The precision of detail required in the drafting of contracts, wills, trusts,

and other legal documents is a rational precision; the care in planning and
strategizing demanded of trial attorneys in deciding how to present their cases is
a rational care; the skill in written and oral argumentation required for appellate
practice is, quite obviously, a rational skill; the talent expected of administrative
law judges in crafting coherent findings of fact and conclusions of law is a rational
talent; and the ability of trial and appellate court judges to separate,
dispassionately and without bias, the kernel of argument from the rhetorical and
emotive chaff of adversarial presentation, so as to render judgments that are
justified under the law, is a rational ability. Further, when the judge decides they
try to come up with the most reasonable result in the circumstances, with due
regard for such systematic constraints on the freewheeling employment of
‘reason’ as the need to maintain continuity with previous decisions and respect
the limitations that the language and discernible purposes of constitutional and
statutory texts impose on the interpreter. an appellate judge accepts logic as a
determinant or adheres to a more rational, sensible and logical approach, as long
as the rule of law requires like cases to be treated alike and judges to apply
statutes and the constitution as written, logic remains an important part of any
argument on appeal. 12

Every single legal argument a lawyer or a judge makes can be broken

down to simple logical components by going through this process of breaking
arguments and simple components can figure out who’s making the right
argument and what people are arguing in the first place. Generally legal
arguments the training of lawyers is a training in logic. The process of analogy,
and deduction are those in which they are most at home. The language of judicial
decision is mainly the language of logic. We believe legal analysis is essentially

Lucas, Supra note 3
Douglas Lind, The Significance of Logic and Law, October 16, 2014

an exercise in logic. The basic lawyering skill of looking at the facts of the case
and applying the law is logic. Legal briefs and published cases are all logical
arguments within a closed system with its own internal logic.

The purpose of logic in law is to familiarize lawyers in the argument,

pleadings, or decision they make. To determine whether or not the decision the
make has fallacies or errors in reasoning. It also instils mental discipline where it
enhances their power of discovering the truth, and lastly is to secure the efficient
application of legal principles. To criticize, reverse, or overrule an administrative
or judicial decision as “arbitrary,” “capricious,” “unsupported by law,” or “contrary
to precedent” is to say nothing more, but nothing less, than that the decision is
deficient in logic and reason. 13 Legal profession is not readily reducible to formal
logic and there is no particular reason to try. Hence, legal analysis and
argumentation is generally a matter of construing written rules and applying them
to particular circumstances. Legal practice involves doing so on behalf of clients
with varying motivations, interests, and understandings of the situation. Further,
Logic really aid those who is in the field of legal profession to think and answer
questions better. Having a firm grasp on logic might prevent you from saying
things that others could use against you or logically incorrect statements.

IV. Classical Logic

Classical logic is a classification of formal logic, characterized by the non-

Contradiction of variables and the elimination of double negative variables; the
recognition of multiple paths to the same answer; that additional assumptions
may be made interchanged freely with another as long as they are all both true
statements. 14

An example of classical logic is Aristotle’s Organon. Aristotle wrote six

works that were later grouped together as the Organon, which means
“instrument”. These works are the Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, On
Interpretation, Topics, Sophistical Refutations, and Categories. 15 Prior Analytics
and On Interpretation discusses syllogism.

Professor Douglas Lind’s book, Logic and Legal Reasoning (2nd ed., The National Judicial College Press,

Business Dictionary -

Spark Notes -

A syllogism consists of a major premise, a minor premise, and a
conclusion. A major premise usually states a general rule. In legal arguments,
this is generally a statement of law. A minor premise makes a factual assertion
about a particular person or thing or a group of persons or things. In legal
arguments, this is usually a statement of fact. A conclusion connects the
particular statement in the minor premise with the general one in the major
premise, and tells us how the general rule applies to the facts at hand. In legal
arguments, this process is called applying the law to the facts. 16

In order for a syllogism to be valid, it must be logically impossible for

its premises to be true and its conclusion to be false. In other words, a
syllogism is valid if, given the truth of its premises, the conclusion “follows”
logically such that it, too, must be true.

Example: All men are mortal.

Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal

The three terms are Socrates, mortal and man. It is evident that Socrates
and mortal, the two terms brought in the conclusion, are established in their
relation by means of a third term to which both are related. This is the
mechanism of the syllogism-a process which plays a large role in every argument
before the court and jury, but which still fills a more conspicuous function in its
relation to the system of pleadings. Further, The legal syllogism was recognized
by the eighteenth century reformer Cesare Beccaria 17, who expressly advocated
that, in the area of criminal law, judges should follow syllogistic reasoning:

“In every criminal case, a judge should come to a

perfect syllogism: the major premise should be the general
law; the minor premise, the act which does or does not
conform to the law; and the conclusion, acquittal or
condemnation.” 18
Beccaria fearlessly advocated public trials, equality before the law, proportionate criminal penalties,
and abolition of the death penalty. See Luz Estelle Nagle, Columbia‟s Faceless Justice: A Necessary Evil,
Blind Impartiality or Modern Inquisition?, 61 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 881, 890-891 (2000).
CESARE BECCARIA, ON CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS 11 (David Young, trans. (1986) (originally
published in 1764). Beccaria was thereby promoting a rule of lenity, the strict construction of criminal
statutes; he also stated, “The code is to be observed in its literal sense, and nothing more is left to the
judge than to determine if an action conforms to the written law.”

Deductive reasoning is one of the two branches of Traditional logic.
Deductive reasoning, as Aristotle taught long ago, is based on the act of proving
a conclusion by means of two other propositions. Perhaps 90 percent of legal
issues can be resolved by deduction. 19 Deductive reasoning tests the validity or
invalidity or credibility of the arguments.

Deductive logic is a mental operation the lawyer must employ many times
a day. Deduction is a movement of the mind from an object as a whole to some
point therein; a movement from the general to the particular-; an inference from
the all to anyone included within the all. We are familiar with the axiom or law of
thought, that two things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each
other. 20 The brief of a case is in the form of a syllogism, an argument of
deductive logic. But to characterize a brief as a single argument of deductive
logic, a single syllogism, is misleading. In law school law professors typically
ask students to identify "the issue" or "the holding" of a case, implying that for
every case there is only one issue and one holding. But on closer inspection it
becomes apparent that this is not at all true; the reasoning of the court in any
particular case is not a single argument of logic as the form of a brief would
suggest, but many argumentsor syllogisms. 21 The brief of a case is in fact a chain
of logical arguments 22 proceeding from the root premises of the court to its final
decision. Judge Aldisert refers to this chain as a “polysyllogism,” and in his book

Ruggero J. Aldisert,* Stephen Clowney** and Jeremy D. Peterson***, LOGIC FOR LAW STUDENTS:

Lucas, supra note 3 at 4.

In light of the fact that a judicial opinion may encompass dozens of issues and holdings, which is the
issue or the holding of the case? As a practical matter, when a professor asks a student to identify
"the issue" in a case, the professor is asking the student to identify the issue in the case that
best serves the professor's pedagogical purpose. The professor probably assigned the case because
one of the issues in the case concerns the next topic to be covered in the syllabus of the course.
The professor or casebook editor may have selected a particular case because it was the first time
that the issue to be studied was decided by a court, or because the opinion of the court is
particularly thorough or well-written, or because the court's discussion of the issue presents an
informative contrast to a complementary discussion in another case.
“A legal argument, therefore, is almost always a chain of syllogisms ….” Winters, note supra, at

he depicts the legal reasoning of several judicial opinions in this manner. 23 The
polysyllogistic approach may be used to unravel the chain of syllogisms, and
thereby trace the court's reasoning from its underlying assumptions about the
law to its ruling in the case before it.

Inductive logic is a system of evidential support that extends deductive

logic to less-than-certain inferences. For valid deductive arguments the premises
logically entail the conclusion, where the entailment means that the truth of the
premises provides a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion. Similarly, in a good
inductive argument the premises should provide some degree of support for the
conclusion, where such support means that the truth of premises indicates with
some degree of strength that the conclusion is true. Presumably, if the logic of
good inductive arguments is to be of any real value, the measure of support it
articulates should meet the following condition:

Criterion of Adequacy: As evidence accumulates, the degree to which the

collection of true evidence statements comes to support a hypothesis, as
measured by logic, should tend to indicate that false hypotheses are probably
false and that true hypotheses are probably true. 24 To ascertain the facts on
which arguments are built, whether an argument is stronger or weaker, better or
worse. Rely on arguments that support their conclusion only as probable true.

A brief or judicial opinion that cites text, intent, precedent,

tradition, and policy, all tending toward a single interpretation of the law,
is far more persuasive than one that utilizes a single modality. When
every method of argument points to the same result, it creates an
impression of inevitability. 25

In case after case, prosecutors, defense counsel, civil attorneys and

judges call upon the rules of logic to structure their arguments. 26 Arguments are
the primary tools of lawyer’s trade and lawyers cannot use them effectively
unless they understand and obey the rules of logic. Lawyers and law students
must take it upon themselves to learn the principles of logic necessary to craft
persuasive arguments. A litigator who needs to present a particular point of view
Ruggero J. Aldister. Logic for Lawyers: A guide to clear legal thinking (1997).
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -
UseandLimitsofSyllogisticReasoninginBriefing Cases, Wilson R. Huhn, University of Akron School of Law,
How to Think Like a Lawyer Ruggero J. Aldisert, Stephen Clowney and Jeremy D. Peterson

to convince the court might need more a good application of laws in drafting
pleadings or legal document. But beyond this is the absolute necessity for a
lawyer to be more than merely rational and logical, as we need to determine
what's best for their clients. And that determination often requires understanding
calculated, rational analysis of the facts.
V. Conclusion

The benefit in applying logic to legal profession are the advantage of the
admirable mental discipline It is by this mental training. Further the use of logic in
the legal profession trains and develops the reasoning powers, not merely the
power of thinking consistently, but the power of discovering the truth. Positive
knowledge of its technical rules, that logic gives us the power and habit of
thinking clearly. Hence, one obvious benefit derivable from a careful study of
logic: a facility in detecting error in reasoning processes and a consequent
likelihood of avoiding such errors, and of thinking and reasoning about difficult
matters with clearness and consistency-a capacity much rarer, even among
educated people, than is commonly suspected. Further, if a lawyer wants to have
a strong argument to stress his point regarding his clients case, he has to implore
logic and logical reasoning. For judge to come up with a rational decision, he has
to base his statements on the facts that was presented he would deduce his final
judgement regarding the case. His role is most important because the logical
reasoning that he will use can make a guilty person answerable to his action.
Further, Logic, as an instrument of inquiry, as an account of how continuity and
reliability are attainable through reasoning, cannot afford to ignore the
meaningfulness of the terms employed. The lawyer and the judge can, and
ordinarily do, reason in a way consistent with the rules of formal logic, without
knowing those rules. They can, indeed, reach reasonable decisions (sometimes)
without reasoning at all. Yet in the long run and for decisions which justify the
expenditure of time and effort, they will get better results if they utilize the
resources of logic, both formal and instrumental.

Success as a lawyer will result from such attributes as understanding the

law, analysing facts carefully, and knowing human personalities well enough to
present the law and the facts in the way that is most beneficial to one's client.
Further, through logic the lawyer maintains a degree of professional detachment
that allows them to focus on the desired outcome and the most likely path to that
outcome, and prevent the client and lawyer from becoming side-tracked. Any
profession whose livelihood depends upon serving the needs of human clients’ or
carrying out justice needs a high level of knowledge which require a rational and
logical thinking which a layman does not possess. Briefly, then, the function of

logic and the connection with the law is to secure the efficient application of legal

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