This work contrasts Giovanni Sartor’s view of inferential semantics of legal concepts (Sartor in Artif Intell Law 17:217–251, 2009) with a probabilistic model of theory formation (Kemp et al. in Cognition 114:165–196, 2010). The work further explores possibilities of implementing Kemp’s probabilistic model of theory formation in the context of mapping legal concepts between two individual legal systems. For implementing the legal concept mapping, we propose a cross-categorization approach that combines three mathematical models: the Bayesian Model of Generalization (BMG; Tenenbaum and Griffiths in Behav Brain Sci 4:629–640, 2001), the probabilistic model of theory formation, i.e., the Infinite Relational Model (IRM) first introduced by Kemp et al. (The twenty-first national conference on artificial intelligence, 2006, Cognition 114:165–196, 2010) and its extended model, i.e., the normal-IRM (n-IRM) proposed by Herlau et al. (IEEE International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing, 2012). We apply our cross-categorization approach to datasets where legal concepts related to educational systems are respectively defined by the Japanese- and the Danish authorities according to the International Standard Classification of Education. The main contribution of this work is the proposal of a conceptual framework of the cross-categorization approach that, inspired by Sartor (Artif Intell Law 17:217–251, 2009), attempts to explain reasoner’s inferential mechanisms.