Idea storage

Friday, July 01, 2005

More on the theory of evolution and law

By the way, I did hear back from Mr. Leiter thanking me for my interest, explaining a few things to me, telling me when and how the article will be available. Nothing else in this post is a response to what he said; I just wanted to make sure it was known that he did write me back, since I said earlier he probably wouldn't.

Let me clear: what I don't think is that a judge, lawyer, politician, or cop can consciously "use" the theory of evolution to make, interpret, or enforce law. Rather, I would think that evolutionary biologists would be interested in studying the behavior of the judges, lawyers, etc., in an effort to define exactly what makes us essentially human.

It's probably a stretch to say that law is *the* distinctive human behavior. There's religion, mythology, story-telling, etc. But law, I think, is representative of the type of human behavior that meaningfully distinguishes or behavior from other animals. Law also has the advantage of inherently, for its own purposes, keeping records. And I think law is representative of the other unique human behaviors. In fact, the law must be derived from them. Just as linguists theorize of a proto Indo European, or even a proto world language, and comparative mythologists then talk about a proto Indo European (and perhaps even proto world?) religion, there must also be a proto Indo European law. Or at least law-like behavior that becomes law.

At what point, and why, does the human biologist deem behavior to be in the field of social science?


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