Law's Misguided Love Affair with Science

21 Pages Posted: 2 May 2008  

Robin Feldman

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Abstract

The allure of science has always captivated members of the legal profession. Its siren's song has followed us throughout much of American legal history. We look to science to rescue us from the experience of uncertainty and the discomfort of difficult legal decisions, and we are constantly disappointed.

The notion of what constitutes science and what it would take to make law more scientific varies across time. What does not vary is our constant return to the well. We are constantly seduced into believing that some new science will provide answers to law's dilemmas, and we are constantly disappointed.

This essay describes episodes in law's misguided love affair with science across the last two hundred years. Illuminating the tantalizing traps that we fall into repeatedly may help us avoid these paths in the future.

Keywords: science, jurisprudence, history, society, legal realism, langdell, legal process, critical legal studies, law and economics, history

Suggested Citation

Feldman, Robin, Law's Misguided Love Affair with Science. Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1127569

Robin Feldman (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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