Epistemology and Method in Law: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Epistemology and Method in Law

1st Edition

By Geoffrey Samuel


416 pages

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Paperback: 9781138267411
pub: 2016-11-15
Hardback: 9781855215993
pub: 2003-02-25
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315256207
pub: 2016-12-05
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This book seeks to question the widely held assumption in Europe that to have knowledge of law is simply to have knowledge of rules. There is a knowledge dimension beyond the symbolic which reaches right into the way facts are perceived, constructed and deconstructed. In support of this thesis the book examines, generally, the question of what it is to have knowledge of law; and this examination embraces not just the conceptual foundations, methods, taxonomy and theories used by jurists. It also examines the epistemological schemes used by social scientists in general in order to show that such schemes are closely related to the schemes of intelligibility used by lawyers and judges.


'Epistemology - the structure of legal thinking and legal knowledge - is an essential, but challenging aspect of the study of law. Concepts, categories and relationships shape our understanding of rules and of facts in law. In Epistemology and Method in Law, Geoffrey Samuel makes the topic accessible both to theorists and non-theorists alike. He engages with some abstract literature, but then uses many concrete illustrations drawn from a range of European legal systems to enable ordinary lawyers to assess their implications. The work is extensive, lucid and thought-provoking. The book will be read with profit by a wide range of legal scholars and advanced students.' Professor John Bell, University of Cambridge, UK 'Professor Geoffrey Samuel's learned examination of legal reasoning represents a most important contribution to jurisprudential studies. Building on his encyclopaedic mastery of English case-law, the author deploys an impressive range of historical, philosophical, and comparative arguments to sustain his central thesis that knowledge of law cannot be reduced to knowledge of rules. Professor Samuel's timely and challenging book is sure to get the very wide readership it undoubtedly deserves.' Professor Pierre Legrand, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, France

Table of Contents

Contents: The scope of legal epistemology; Scientia Iuris; Methodologies in law; Institutions and concepts; Facts and law; Taxonomy in law; Theories of liability; Schemes of intelligibility in Social Science; Concluding remarks; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

Applied Legal Philosophy

Applied Legal Philosophy
The principal objective of this series is to encourage the publication of books which adopt a theoretical approach to the study of particular areas or aspects of law, or deal with general theories of law in a way which is directed at issues of practical, moral and political concern in specific legal contexts. The general approach is both analytical and critical and relates to the socio-political background of law reform issues. This series includes studies of all the main areas of law, presented in a manner which relates to the concerns of specialist legal academics and practitioners. Each book makes an original contribution to an area of legal study while being comprehensible to those engaged in a wide variety of disciplines. Their legal content is principally Anglo-American, but a wide-ranging comparative approach is encouraged and authors are drawn from a variety of jurisdictions.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
PHILOSOPHY / Epistemology