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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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The Notion of an Ideal Audience in Legal Argument

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ISBN13: 9780792362838
ISBN: 0792362837
Published: May 2000
Publisher: Kluwer Law International
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print

This is an examination of how our concepts of an ideal or ""universal"" audience influence legal argument. It shows how asking ""what are the arguments and the forms of argumentation that we believe would be accepted by such an audience"", is a useful analytical tool. The book explores what, if any, are the constraints that our vision of an ideal audience imposes on public discourse and particularly on legal discourse. Some visions of a universal audience are widely shared; others are only shared within particular political and legal cultures. Stylistic preferences can have as important an influence on legal decision-making as do substantive preferences. In some cultures and legal systems there is a preference to resort to broad general principles; in others there is a preference for a more circumscribed and particular mode of legal argument. Different legal cultures have different idealized notions as to the role of the judge. Different conceptions of the role of the judge will influence many aspects of legal decision making, including how statutes and other authoritative official instruments should be interpreted.;All these issues will also be influenced by how a particular legal culture envisions the common or public good and by how tolerant a particular legal culture is of diverse outcomes, that is by how much discretion superior legal decision-makers are prepared to grant to inferior decision-makers.

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1. Introduction.
2. The Notion of an Ideal Audience as an Analytical Tool.
3. What Are the Constraints that Can Be Imposed on Arguments Addressed to an Ideal Audience? 4. Some Universal Features of Ideal Audiences in Legal Contexts.
5. Different Conceptions of the Ideal Audience -- A First Look.
6. Accounting for Differences in Perceptions of the Ideal Audience -- Some Preliminary Observations.
7. Choosing Between Competing Visions of the Good -- the Case of Necessity.
8. The Conflict Between the General and the Particular -- Some Legal Background.
9. The Conflict Between the General and the Particular -- Theoretical Perspectives.
10. Ambivalent Attitudes with Regard to Discretion.
11. Toleration of Diverse and Even Inconsistent Outcomes.
12. Conclusion. Cases Cited. Bibliography. Index.