Transitivity is a fundamental requirement for consistency. Legal systems, especially when composed over time and by different agencies, may encounter non-transitive cycles, in which by one rule the law prefers one outcome a over another outcome b, by another rule b trumps some third result c, but a third rule ranks c higher than a. This paper discusses a new solution to such cycles in which the relevant rules of preferences are ranked and then applied until a transitive order of the options is obtained. The paper provides a formal generalization of this solution, and demonstrates its possible implementation to some legal issues. It is also shown that this solution can be traced to the Rabbinic literature, starting with the Mishnah and the Talmud (1st-5th c CE).
- Ranking rules
- Uzi Segal