Teaching Argumentation Through Trial Transcripts

Photograph of the Courtroom During Nuremberg Trials

My teaching primarily focuses on forensic rhetoric and the role of narrative, memory, and proof in disputes about past events. This classically includes legal disputes, although it extends far beyond them. In the course I’m teaching now, entitled Rhetoric and the Law, I challenge students to consider the importance of rhetoric to interpretations of evidence in legal disputes, the use of analogical argument in appeals to precedent, and the significance of the adversary system of justice as a dispute resolution model.

Analogical Reasoning, Otherwise Known as Legal, Casuistic, Exemplary, or "Rhetorical" Reasoning

Robber figurine pointing gun at a bank teller figurine

I’m teaching an upper-division rhetorical theory course about legal rhetoric in which I specifically focus students on the forensic rhetoric of adjudicating particular cases in dispute. Accordingly, among other subjects of the course, one of the units focuses students on the casuistic or “case method” of reasoning from precedents in judicial rhetoric, a mode of reasoning often simply called “rhetorical reasoning” in recognition of its inherently rhetorical quality.


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