Evolutionary Theory and Legal Philosophy

Evolutionary Theory and Legal Philosophy

Wojciech Zaluski

This unique book presents various ways in which evolutionary theory can contribute to the analysis of key legal-philosophical problems. Wojciech Zaluski explores three central questions; the ontological question – what is the nature of law?; the teleological-axiological question – what are the main values to be realized by law?; the normativity question, which has two aspects; normative: what explains the fact that legal norms provide reasons for action?, and motivational: what explains the fact that humans can be motivated by legal norms? It is argued that evolutionary theory suggests non-trivial answers to these questions, and that these answers can become the building blocks of a new – evolutionary – paradigm in legal philosophy.

Introduction

Wojciech Zaluski

Subjects: economics and finance, evolutionary economics, game theory

Extract

The overarching thesis of this book, when cautiously formulated, says that evolutionary theory,1 via the account of human behaviour and human psychological mechanisms it provides, can be a source of valuable insights in the context of legal-philosophical analyses. When formulated more boldly, it says that evolutionary theory can give rise to a new current in legal philosophy, which can be called an ‘evolutionary current in legal philosophy’. In order to justify the thesis in its cautious formulation, the following general argument seems to be sufficient. The argument says that this thesis is self-evident, as it is a corollary of two self-evident assumptions. The first assumption asserts that our behavioural dispositions are the products of natural selection, and so cannot be understood without recourse to evolutionary theory. The second assumption asserts that law deals with human behaviour, as it is in the first place a mechanism for shaping human behaviour. Accordingly, a philosophical reflection on law, in so far as it focuses on law qua a mechanism for shaping human behaviour (which is, arguably, the most natural focus of such reflection), has to take into account the results of evolutionary theory. In order to justify the thesis in its bold formulation, in turn, one must, first, define the concept of a legal-philosophical current, and, second, show that the ‘evolutionary current in legal-philosophy’ satisfies this definition. Now, I propose to define ‘a current in legal philosophy’ as a set of well worked-out answers to the following (interrelated) questions: 1. 2. 3....