A Biological Theory of Law: Natural Law Theory Revisited


187 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2011 Last revised: 19 Dec 2012

See all articles by Hendrik Gommer

Hendrik Gommer

CIS Law; University of Groningen

Date Written: June 23, 2011


Our brain is a fractal structure that can grow thanks to some genes that contain a code, a formula that generates this structure. Complex structures of morality and law mirror the properties of small particles like genes, and we justify the law in the context of reproduction. What we value as good enhances the reproduction of our genes. Therefore, biological mechanisms determine what we consider right and wrong and this new insight will eventually cause a paradigmatic shift in our vision on the foundations of law.

The basis of evolutionary sociology is that our brain will prompt behavior that is to the benefit of the spreading of our genes. Although people are unaware of it, they generally behave in ways that optimize the reproduction of their genes. Because they need resources from their environment (in the broadest sense of the word), they will show behavior that is conducive to procuring or securing as many resources as possible. To accomplish this mission, people, being social animals, work together. The older parts of our brain (older in an evolutionary sense) make cooperation possible by means of emotion. The younger parts make it possible to formulate rules that reflect these emotions. In other words, these rules derive from factual, biological mechanisms. People experience these rules as “normative,” and as “ethical,” but even so, these rules are products of evolution. We, that is our brains, formulate them because they help our genes to spread. This, in a nutshell, is the biological theory of law as described in this book. Although philosophers of law and even sociobiologists are reluctant to concur that norms can be justified by biological mechanisms, this is what it takes to make a major step forward in the integration of biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and law.

Keywords: biology, fractals, natural law, genes, punishment, free riders, is-ought problem, naturalistic fallacy, Dawkins

Suggested Citation

Gommer, Hendrik, A Biological Theory of Law: Natural Law Theory Revisited (June 23, 2011). Hendrik Gommer, A BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF LAW: NATURAL LAW THEORY REVISTED, Amazon Publishing, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1915686

Hendrik Gommer (Contact Author)

CIS Law ( email )

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Zuidhorn, Groningen 9801 AS

HOME PAGE: http://www.cislaw.eu

University of Groningen ( email )

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9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV

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