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Chemistry teaches us that gemstones form single crystals. What makes these crystals interesting scientifically is their structure: the molecules in a single crystalline substance arrange themselves in an ordered and regular pattern which is repeated throughout the solid. Moreover, the tiny molecular patterns taken together create the identical pattern on a larger scale, and this process continues at each succeeding level of size, so that the structure of the- solid is the same regardless of the level examined. Finally, when a single crystal is cut into pieces (as, when a diamond cutter splits a diamond), each piece retains the same structure (and levels of structure) as the original. The thesis of this Article is that legal thought and legal argument have a crystalline structure. I mean by this not that legal doctrines have a self-replicating structure, but rather that legal arguments that people make in defense of legal doctrines share a common structure. This common structure is replicated throughout diverse areas of legal doctrine and at successive levels of doctrinal complexity.

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