No. 3




Legislation Needs a Logical and Pragmatic Approach

18 June 2001


RiTo No. 3, 2001

  • Uno Mereste

    Estonian Academy of Sciences academician, member of the 7th, 8th and 9th Riigikogu

Some of Estonia’s more active members of the legislature are restless in their call to do away with the traditional, the classical, i.e. formal logical approach and, instead, to adopt a more pragmatic view of things. This approach is based on the assumption that a logical approach is outdated, superficial and misleading. The proliferation of such statements is a deliberate attempt to revive primitive Marxist ideology, which was discarded even by Marxists and Leninist themselves already in the 1960’s.

Strict observation of traditional, classical and logical rules of thinking is one of the most important pre-requisites for resolving legislative problems in a competent and relevant manner. The assumption that a formal logical approach fails to address the essence of a problem, remains superficial or is simply impractical because the formal approach is wrong. In fact, logical approach is the best tool for ensuring that the debate, especially a legal debate, is relevant. Mistakes in logical thinking in a legal text are very costly, irrespective of the number of university degrees that the author behind this thinking may have.

Calls to give up logical thinking in legislative matters are very dangerous indeed. It has already caused conflicts in our laws and in the general order of things. If these mistakes are compounded with a misleading interpretation of categories, leading to the adoption of illogical laws, the gap between the legislation, i.e. written law, and the public understanding of the law, may become too wide to overcome. If something like this happens, it would not only render our laws inefficient, but also distance the people from those in power.

Full article in Estonian