Better Language, Better Thought, Better Communication: The A-Hohfeld Language for Legal Analysis

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Conference Proceeding

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A-HOHFELD is a representational language used in MINT (Multiple INTerpretation) Interpretation-Assistance (expert) systems for precisely expressing alternative structural interpretations of sets of legal rules. It draws heavily upon the timlamental legal conceptions formulated by Wesley N. HoMeld at the dawn of the Twentieth Century. In the current version of AHOHFELD the original conceptions have been modified and extended in seeking to define a language sufficiently robust to express all LEGAL RELATIONS and all changes in legal states of affairs. Hohfeld emphasized the use of fundamental legal conceptions in the analysis of judicial reasoning, elsewhere we have shown the use of A-HOHFELD for the analysis of sets of statutory rules, and here we illustrate its use in thinking about legal doctrine. This use of A-HOHFELD is offered as a possible example of where fluency in a more precise and complete language might have facilitated an earlier recognition of remedial alternatives that have apparently only recently been appearing in legal literature and judicial decisions. To the extent that AHOHFELD so strengthens legal analysis, it farther exemplifies how work on problems of artificial intelligence in computer science tiuittidly feeds back to law and illustrates how precision in language contributes to thought as well as communication.


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