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Disorder and Discontinuity in Law and Morality, Theoretical Inquires in Law


For every legal concept X, there are clear instances exemplifying an X and clear instances exemplifying a non-X. The cases that come before courts are those that seem to lie in between, being neither clearly an X nor clearly a non-X. It is tempting to think that, being in-between, they should receive an in-between treatment, that is, to the extent that they are an X they should be treated as an X. If they are sixty percent toward being an X, they should get sixty percent of the treatment due an X. But this presupposes that in-between cases can be rank-ordered at least roughly according to the degree of their X-ness. This Article explains why that generally cannot be done and why courts therefore go for an either/or approach: something gets treated either as an X or as a non-X. The explanation is rooted in the kind of phenomena explored in the theory of social choice and multi-criterial decision-making.




Alvaro Sandroni, Leo Katz

Date Published



Sandroni, Alvaro, and Leo Katz. 2021. Disorder and Discontinuity in Law and Morality. Theoretical Inquires in Law.(1): 31-44.


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