Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sociobiology & Law

Professor James Franklin does not believe that the prospects for sociobiology (or, I assume, for sociobiology and law) are stellar. He writes, "[I]t is not very important to the credibility of the core theory of evolution whether or not there is anything in the theories of sociobiology. There have been many justified complaints about the 'Darwinian fairytales' dreamed up to 'explain' many aspects of human social reality, but an evolutionist could well agree that sociobiology is an embarrassment without needing to give up any core part of evolutionary theory." James Franklin, What Does Science Know and How It Knows It 220 (Encounter Books, 2009) (footnote omitted).

I normally have a charitable intellectual attitude toward many modern but possibly-quixotic intellectual endeavors. For example, although I think the explicit (crude) materialism of some versions of Artificial Intelligence is incorrect (and naive & oxymoronic), I believe much can be learned through the study of the work of AI scholars who say they embrace (crude) materialism. However, the (few) examples of research in law & sociobiology (L & S) I have seen leave me, at last, with the firm impression that L & S is little more than warmed-over social Darwinism. (One prominent L & S theorist has moved into neuroscience and law. If past performance predicts future performance, there is reason to doubt the prospects for this new gambit.)

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