Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Hart-Fuller Debate Post-Modernized: Motor Vehicles versus Animals in the Park

An ordinance originally enacted in 1921 provides that on Sunday afternoons it is impermissible to take motor vehicles into the park but that it is permissible to take animals (even large and noisy ones) into the park on Sunday afternoons. (This is very probably a German city such as Munich.)

One fine Sunday afternoon I take a robotic cat - a robot that functions, in many ways, like a cat, but also, obviously, in some ways, like some other machines - into the park.

How now brown cow?

Shall we use Bayesian logic? (Unlikely.) Shall we flip a coin? ("Heads, it's a motor vehicle, tails it's an animal. That's a fair way to settle this question.") Delphic oracles? (cf. "I will gaze at the starry heavens - especially Sirius - and seek inspiration there.")  Our unbridled discretion? ("I can and will rule the way I want. There is no applicable rule here. I will make law. Nothing else is left to me - thank God.") Or shall we (or the judge or the jury) use fuzzy logic? ("This thing partakes of an 'animal' to some degree. This thing partakes of a 'motor vehicle' to a substantial degree. ... [missing matter?] ... Therefore ...[?]")

What will or should we (or the judge or jury) do: How will or should we or they think about this problem?


The dynamic evidence page
Evidence marshaling software MarshalPlan
It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.
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