24634 - Logic and Legal Reasoning

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student is expected to become familiar with (1) the main forms of inference (inductive, deductive, abduction, etc.); (2) the definition of both intuitive and formal criteria for the construction and evaluation of arguments; (3) the main applications of this logical apparatus to modes of legal argumentation.

Course contents

The course is structured around the following thematic clusters: (1) logic; (2) rhetoric; (3) dialectics, whose boundaries are not rigid. The topics covered may vary according to the interest of the students and the approach chosen by the lecturers, each of whom curates a module. Examples of topics that may be covered are: modes and forms of argumentation; deduction, induction and abduction; demonstration and argumentation; argumentation and persuasion; the rhetorical system; truth and verisimilitude; arguments and fallacies; interrogation and refutation; psychology of testimony; cognitive errors; rhetorical and epistemological aspects of trials; reasonable doubt; factual truth and procedural truth.

At the end of the course the student will know a) the main modes of reasoning both in terms of their logical structure (argumentative schemes) and their use in different cognitive situations; b) the basic notions of rhetoric and dialectics, and c) their application to legal discourse (forensic oratory and cross-examination techniques).

Readings/Bibliography

Attending students:

1) A. TRAVERSI, La difesa penale. Tecniche argomentative e oratorie, Giuffrè, Milan 2014.

2) G. CAROFIGLIO, L'arte del dubbio, Sellerio, Palermo 2007.

4) S. SCHOPENHAUER, L'arte di ottenere ragione, Adelphi, Milan 1991.

One reading of your choice between the following:

5a) R. BARTHES, La retorica antica, Bompiani, Milan 2000.
5b) O. REBOUL, Introduzione alla retorica, il Mulino, Bologna 2002.

NOTE: Changes to the program may be made during the course.

 

Non-attending students:

1) A. TRAVERSI, La difesa penale. Tecniche argomentative e oratorie, Giuffrè, Milan 2014.

2) G. CAROFIGLIO, L'arte del dubbio, Sellerio, Palermo 2007.

4) C. PERELMAN, L. OLBRECHTS-TYTECA, Trattato dell’argomentazione. La nuova retorica, Einaudi, Turin 2001.

In addition, one reading of your choice between the following:

5a) R. BARTHES, La retorica antica, Bompiani, Milan 2000.

5b) O. REBOUL, Introduzione alla retorica, il Mulino, Bologna 2002.

 

Teaching methods

The course takes place in Ravenna in the second semester and consists of 24 2-hour lectures. The course is split in two modules taught by two lecturers. In each lesson, a topic is introduced by the lecturer and then discussed with the students' active participation, the aim being to involve the students as much as possible in the development and critical assessment of the argument.

Assessment methods

The assessment is made through an oral exam consisting in the discussion of three topics, one proposed by the candidate, the others by the teacher. The exams aims to ascertain the skills acquired by the candidate and assess the degree of fulfillment of the objectives of the course, in particular with regard to the ability to critically appraise and independently elaborate on the topics covered by the course.

Grading

Very limited knowledge of relevant topics; analytical skills emerging only with the teacher's help; sufficient grasp of specialized language → 18-19.
Limited knowledge of relevant topics; limited analytical skills; satisfactory grasp of specialized language → 20-24.
Good knowledge of relevant topics; above-average analytical skills; mastery of specialized language → 25-29.
Excellent knowledge of relevant topics; outstanding analytical skills; full mastery of specialized language → 30-30L.

 

Thesis

Students who wish to prepare a dissertation on the topics covered by the course are requested to 1) contact the lecturer at least 7 months before the defence, and 2) consult the list of dissertation already assigned appearing in the "Thesis" section of the lecturer's website.

Teaching tools

Slides, texts and sometimes audiovisual materials or seminars organised by the teacher which should serve to facilitate participation and debate.

Office hours

See the website of Silvia Vida