On the Future of Total Theory: Science, Antiscience, and Human Candor

32 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2008

See all articles by Joseph Vining

Joseph Vining

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: October 1, 2008


All-embracing theories of the nature of the world currently being sought and taught, "total theories," "final theories," "theories of everything," take various forms - physical, biological, mathematical. They explain the theorist proposing the theory as well as us to whom the theory is proposed. They reach out to explain challenges to the theory proposed. They explain the very language in which the theory is expressed and urged, and, as may appear, believed. On the Future of Total Theory addresses what total theory, if believed to be true, would mean for law, and what the presence of law means for total theory. If attention is paid to law and the legal mind in discussions of what views are "scientific" and what "antiscientific," some part of this ongoing argument and conflict may eventually be put aside. The incompatibility of law and a total theory of the world and humanity makes relevant the question of belief on the part of those who develop and teach the theory, the authenticity of their commitment to what they seem to be saying. Lawyers may be well situated to see the tacit assumption in speakers' speaking about the nature of things, that they, the speakers, can use and appeal to human law, and well situated also to see the implications of that assumption for an understanding of what is proposed.

Keywords: Darwin, Darwinism, evolution, evolution and law, eugenics, human research, animal research, artificial intelligence, law and religion, law and science, law and social science, law and economics, rule of law, belief in law, law and language, law and the individual, historicism, unified theory, final

JEL Classification: B30, B31, D30, D60, J70, K19

Suggested Citation

Vining, Joseph, On the Future of Total Theory: Science, Antiscience, and Human Candor (October 1, 2008). Erasmus Institute Papers, Vol. 1, 1999, U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 125, U of Michigan Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 08-017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1280208

Joseph Vining (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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