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5.2.2 Avoiding absurdity

One such strategy is to be as true to the literal meaning as is possible but to ensure, so far as the words allow, an interpretation which avoids absurdity. In the case of the rule I have just set out, this would mean an interpretation which ensured that only those customers who had caused breakages were obliged to pay for them.

This approach works well in most cases, but not always. Take, for example, another rule posted up in a shop selling china and glass:

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5.2.1 A literal approach

One way in which we can interpret a rule is by treating it literally. Very simply this means looking at the words which comprise the rule, and at the way in which they are put together, and applying the rule ‘as is’ to a factual situation to which it applies. An example would be: ‘Dog owners are not permitted to let their dogs off the lead in the park’. If this is applied literally, it would mean that a person who did not own a dog, but who took a friend's dog to the park, w
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4.3 Summary of Part C

After studying Part C you should be able to:

  • explain the problems associated with formulating rules;

  • identify whether a rule is too specific;

  • identify whether a rule is too general;

  • identify solutions to a problem of rule formulation.

4.2 Formulating rules

Activity 4 should have shown you that the language used for making rules can sometimes make them difficult to understand. Given that we can only comply with a rule if we know what it means, this is a big problem! In this part of the unit we are going to look at the process of making rules in more detail – and you are going to have the opportunity to make a rule that can be understood and which is effective in achieving what it sets out to do.

It is worth restating that rules are made
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3.3 The Irish anti-smoking law

You now know what the Irish Government's arguments for introducing the smoking ban were, and have read some of the reactions to it. We are now going to turn to the law itself. The passage I want you to read is from the Irish Government Public Services website and explains the new law in simple language. Read the passage in Box 4 carefully and answer the questions in the activity which follows. The questions ask you to interpret the rules, something we will be looking at in more detail later i
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3.2 The policy behind Ireland's ban on smoking in the workplace

In order to explore these issues, we are going to look at the introduction of a rule in the Republic of Ireland – the ban on smoking in places where people work which was introduced in 2004. What I would like you to do first is to think about your own position on this subject. The purpose of the next activity is to provide you with an opportunity to think about your own attitudes to a particular kind of behaviour which many people feel should be subject to legal control. It is useful to wor
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2.2 The problems of rule making

It goes without saying that making rules is a complicated process. Just how complicated is illustrated by the American legal theorist Professor Lon Fuller. In his book The Morality of Law, which was first published in 1964, he explored the relationship between law and morality, and the criteria by which we should evaluate a legal system (one form of a system of rules). In the passage you are going to read in Activity 2, Fuller tells the story of a fictional law-maker, Rex, who comes to
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2.1 The meaning of formal rules

In this part, we will develop our understanding of rules further. So far we have concentrated on social rules. We looked at what is meant by this, at the way such rules develop, at the conflicts which may arise between groups operating under different social rule systems, and at what happens when such rules are broken. Here, we are going to explore rules which are more formal in nature. By this I mean rules which – instead of being the product of shared understanding and practice – are se
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1 Making, interpreting and applying rules

The aim of this unit is to introduce you to the processes of making, interpreting and applying rules.

We often think about social rules, most of which are unwritten and which we observe because we have a shared social understanding of what they are. We are now going to think about a different kind of rule. A definition of a rule (as opposed to a habit, custom or role) is shown in Box 1.

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1 The importance of law in social work education

In this unit you will be asked to reflect on the meanings of both social work and law. You will find that these concepts are open to a range of possible definitions, and that the functions of social work and law can change depending on the practice context. Their meaning is also affected by the perspective from which they are viewed, for example the service user's experience of social work and law will not always match the expectations of the professional, or the perceptions of the general pu
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1 The importance of law in social work education
Social work is a dynamic profession that is undergoing a period of significant change in Scotland. Social workers have the power to make assessments and decisions that radically alter people's lives. This unit introduces the law as it relates to social work and encourages an understanding of the context of the law in order to make sound decisions.
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3.1 Introduction

Precedent is the basis of the common law. The doctrine of binding precedent is known as the doctrine of stare decisis, which is Latin meaning ‘to stand by/adhere to decided cases’, i.e. to follow precedent. In other words, once a principle is decided it should be followed in future cases. The doctrine refers to the fact that, within the hierarchical structure of the English courts, the decision of a higher court will be binding on a lower court. In general terms, this means th
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2.5 Working with scientific notation using the Windows calculator
Are you a technophobe? Bluetooth, Ethernet WiFi – are they terms that mean nothing to you? This unit will gently guide you to an understanding of how devices 'talk' to each other and what technologies and processes are involved. You will also look at wired and wireless communication technologies, introducing you to some of the key methods involved.
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4.2.4 Make clear your perspective
To develop as an independent, confident learner you will need to learn the study skills involved in reading articles, taking notes and summarising the information that you have obtained from an article. The unit explores the use of the Web as a resource for keeping up to date, looking in particular at how to assess material available online.
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4.2.3 Acknowledge before differing
To develop as an independent, confident learner you will need to learn the study skills involved in reading articles, taking notes and summarising the information that you have obtained from an article. The unit explores the use of the Web as a resource for keeping up to date, looking in particular at how to assess material available online.
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4.2.2 Thank, acknowledge and support people
To develop as an independent, confident learner you will need to learn the study skills involved in reading articles, taking notes and summarising the information that you have obtained from an article. The unit explores the use of the Web as a resource for keeping up to date, looking in particular at how to assess material available online.
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4.2.1 Introduction
To develop as an independent, confident learner you will need to learn the study skills involved in reading articles, taking notes and summarising the information that you have obtained from an article. The unit explores the use of the Web as a resource for keeping up to date, looking in particular at how to assess material available online.
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4.2 Netiquette
To develop as an independent, confident learner you will need to learn the study skills involved in reading articles, taking notes and summarising the information that you have obtained from an article. The unit explores the use of the Web as a resource for keeping up to date, looking in particular at how to assess material available online.
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4.1 Introduction
To develop as an independent, confident learner you will need to learn the study skills involved in reading articles, taking notes and summarising the information that you have obtained from an article. The unit explores the use of the Web as a resource for keeping up to date, looking in particular at how to assess material available online.
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3.2 More about mind maps and spray diagrams
To develop as an independent, confident learner you will need to learn the study skills involved in reading articles, taking notes and summarising the information that you have obtained from an article. The unit explores the use of the Web as a resource for keeping up to date, looking in particular at how to assess material available online.
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