Deontic logic in the representation of law: Towards a methodology [Book Review]

Artificial Intelligence and Law 1 (1):45-64 (1992)
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Abstract

There seems to be no clear consensus in the existing literature about the role of deontic logic in legal knowledge representation — in large part, we argue, because of an apparent misunderstanding of what deontic logic is, and a misplaced preoccupation with the surface formulation of legislative texts. Our aim in this paper is to indicate, first, which aspects of legal reasoning are addressed by deontic logic, and then to sketch out the beginnings of a methodology for its use in the analysis and representation of law.The essential point for which we argue is that deontic logic — in some form or other —needs to be taken seriously whenever it is necessary to make explicit, and then reason about, the distinction between what ought to be the case and what is the case, or as we also say, between the ideal and the actual. We take the library regulations at Imperial College as the main illustration, and small examples from genuinely legal domains to introduce specific points. In conclusion, we touch on the role of deontic logic in the development of the theory of normative positions.

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