Is There a Law Instinct?

60 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2009 Last revised: 24 Jul 2010

Date Written: 2009


The widely-held view is that legal systems develop in response to purposeful efforts to achieve economic, political, or social objectives. The alternative view considered in this Article is that reliance on legal systems to organize social activity is an integral part of human nature, just as language and morality now appear to be directly shaped by innate predispositions. This Article formalizes and presents evidence in support of the claim that humans instinctively turn to legal systems to organize social behavior.

Keywords: Jurisprudence, Evolutionary Science, Law

Suggested Citation

Guttentag, Michael D., Is There a Law Instinct? (2009). Washington University Law Review, Vol. 87, No. 2, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Michael D. Guttentag (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States

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