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has done more than anyone in the common law world to re-emphasise the role of adjudication in the formulation of philosophical theory, continues to subscribe to the thesis that legal knowledge is based on rules and principles (Susskind, Expert Systems in Law, 1987, OUP, pp 78–79). All the same, Dworkin has moved thinking away from the mechanics of the syllogism towards the interpretative role of the judge, and while this shift has not undermined, as such, the rule thesis, he has opened up the methodological debate in, for example, distinguishing between easy and hard cases (see Taking Rights Seriously, 1977, Duckworth, pp 24ff, 105ff). In easy cases, it may be that a legal rule applies itself in a mechanical fashion, but in hard cases—that is, cases where there is no easy correspondence between the rule and the facts—the interpretative role of the judge becomes the central object of study. The judge, according to Dworkin, involves himself in a process that is analogous to writing a chain novel. ‘In this enterprise’, writes Dworkin, ‘a group of novelists writes a novel seriatim; each novelist in the chain interprets the chapters he has been given in order to write a new chapter, which is then added to what the next novelist receives, and so on’ (Law’s Empire, 1986, Fontana, p 229). The difficulty with this otherwise valuable methodological analysis is that it assumes that legal reasoning is a matter of interpreting language—a matter of interpreting texts, of interpreting rules and principles (ars hermeneutica). There are two general problems with this approach. First, the hermeneutical (interpretative) method is just one of a number of different schemes of intelligibility that are used in social science reasoning. Thus the hermeneutical scheme can be contrasted with a functional approach or a structural approach or, indeed, with several other schemes of intelligibility. These various schemes have been identified and analysed by the French social theorist J-M Berthelot in his book, L’intelligence du social, 1990, PUF, Chapter II; and while this work is rather outside a course on the law of obligations, it cannot be completely ignored by lawyers. What Berthelot can teach lawyers is that their legal reasoning schemes are nothing special. The various approaches adopted by judges in their analysis of facts and their fashioning of solutions can be classed according to the same schemes of analysis as those used by social scientists in general. Thus, lawyers and legal theorists make use of the causal scheme, the functional scheme, the structural scheme, the hermeneutical scheme, the actional scheme and the dialectical scheme depending upon their standpoint and/or view of the world (see below, pp 169–77). When one judge differs from another in respect of the same facts, it is often because each judge is approaching the case from a different schematic viewpoint (see, for example, Re Rowland, p 166). Equally, there is little point in trying to reconcile the theory of Ronald Dworkin with the functional approaches of the American Realists or with scholastic (dialectical) methods of the medieval Glossators or with the structural approach of the semioticians. This is not to say, of course, that the various approaches are mutually exclusive. Criminal and tort lawyers use, for example, the causal (chain of causation) and the actional (reasonable man,
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