Thursday, November 16, 2006

Persuasion: use analogical reasoning

From an excellent book on persuasive legal writing:
    Despite its preeminence in legal reasoning, rule-based analysis suffers from a major shortcoming: It is inconsistent with the fundamental way the human brain processes information. Recent developments in cognitive psychology suggest that humans do not think effectively in terms of abstract general propositions.
Michael R. Smith, Advanced Legal Writing: Theories and Strategies in Persuasive Writing 259 (Aspen L. & Bus. 2002).

My take is this: whenever possible, instead of asserting the a rule leads to a certain result, show how it leads to that result by making analogies from precedents to your problem.

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