Cases and dialectical arguments. An approach to case-based reasoning

Bram Roth and Bart Verheij


Case-based reasoning in the law is a reasoning strategy in which legal conclusions are supported by decisions made by judges. If the case at hand is analogous to a settled case, then by judicial authority one can argue that the settled case should be followed. Case-based reasoning is a topic where ontology meets logic since one’s conception of cases determines one’s conception of reasoning with cases. In the paper, it is shown how reasoning with cases can be modelled by comparing the corresponding dialectical arguments. A unique characteristic thereby is the explicit recognition that it is in principle contingent which case features are relevant for case comparison. This contigency gives rise to some typical reasoning patterns. The present work is compared to other existing approaches to reasoning by case comparison, and some work on legal ontologies is briefly discussed regarding the role attributed to cases.

Roth, B. & Verheij, B. (2004). Cases and dialectical arguments. An approach to case-based reasoning. On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems 2004: OTM 2004 Workshops. WORM'04: The Second International Workshop on Regulatory Ontologies. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 3292 (eds. R. Meersman, Z. Tari & A. Corsaro), pp. 634-651. Springer, Heidelberg.

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