Although legal institutions like to present law as a collection of rules,the common law is most accurately thought of as a complex adaptive systemwhose concepts and principles process events and ideas occurring in a worldconstantly in flux. The common law has swallowed momentous technologicaland social change with remarkably little turmoil in its own set ofconcepts, largely through the power of analogical reasoning, resulting in aprofession that denies its creativity while seeing intuitively that, e.g.,oil underground should be treated by reference to the law of capturing wildanimals. The legal mind engages in conceptual blendings that in othercontexts might be regarded as flights of fancy but in the law is regardedas just doctrinal problem-solving. The good legal mind sees aroundcorners, sees things from many different perspectives simultaneously, makesconnections with ease across time, space, and domain, indeed is required todo so in order to be professionally competent. Imagination is routine.How is this accomplished? The class will focus on the cognitive scienceliterature on metaphors, analogies, schemas, and frames, with an emphasison the challenge of translating metaphor into reasoning for the purpose ofpersuasion.
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