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May 21, 2009

A reader asks...

Max Radin famously wrote in the Harvard Law Review that the statutory canon “expressio unius est exclusio alterius” represents a fallacy of the illicit major. But how exactly does that canon commit this fallacy? Could someone please put in the categorical syllogistic form exactly how that canon commits the fallacy?


Here's an answer from my co-author, which I think nails it (though, of course, the counter-argument is also obvious):

Bottom line, the canon is “wrong” because one cannot think of everything to include in a list.  The canon assumes the author thinks of everything and chooses to not include those things excluded.  It simply does not reflect reality.

May 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack