The Elements of Logical Reasoning

Ms Maritza Breitenbach holds a Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude), a Teaching Diploma and a Certificate in Small Business Management (magna cum laude), all from North-West University (NWU). She also completed a Master’s degree (Philosophy in Biomedical Ethics) (cum laude) at the University of Stellenbosch (US). Among her many diverse talents, she is also a published author, a seasoned entrepreneur, and an accomplished sculptor. In her article, she explores the many elements that make up deductive and inductive reasoning processes, with a particular caveat against false syllogisms.

In her introduction to The Elements of Logical Reasoning[1], Maritza Breitenbach references Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, where he devotes an entire chapter to the Revolution in Classical Music. Women, it was believed, simply could not play as well as men, for various reasons – smaller lips, lungs and hands, a lack of strength, attitude and resilience, and so on – that were accepted as fact. But, she cautions, snap judgments and intuitions are based on our personal and collective beliefs and experiences and are heavily influenced by our surrounding environment. With this in mind, we need to call into question the processes that underlie our powers of reasoning and decision-making.

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May an arbitrator use his or her own knowledge and/or expertise to decide a matter?

Our current chairman, Advocate Pierre Rossouw SC, needs little introduction. He is a member of The Maisels Group in Sandton. His court appearances include various divisions of the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, the Constitutional Court of RSA and the High and Supreme Courts of Namibia. The judgments in 32 of his litigious matters have been reported prominently in various law reports. Here he shares an article on the value of specialised knowledge and expertise when appointing an arbitrator.

Parties, the Courts and appointing authorities such as the Association of Arbitrators (Southern Africa) very often appoint arbitrators to determine disputes because the appointees are perceived to have special knowledge and expertise.  The question arises to what extent, if at all, an appointed arbitrator can use his or her special knowledge and expertise on an issue which he or she may be required to decide.

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[1] By Maritza Breitenbach, Bachelor of Science (cum laude) from North-West University (NWU); Teaching Diploma, NWU; Certificate in Small Business Management (magna cum laude) from NWU; and a Master’s degree (Philosophy in Biomedical Ethics) (cum laude), the latter from the University of Stellenbosch (US).

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