Concepts of Law

Southern California Law Review. Volume 86, Issue 3, 517-572, 2013

54 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2013 Last revised: 31 Oct 2013

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University

Mark B. Turner

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science

Date Written: October 21, 2013

Abstract

Law depends for its existence and practice upon vast concepts that stretch across time, space, causation, and agency. Vast concepts are fundamental from legislation and interpretation to enforcement and adjudication; from weighing evidence to establishing motive and intent; and from imposing fines or sentences to awarding compensation. But all of human thought and memory is just here and now. Forming and understanding vast legal concepts can be difficult, and failures arise in theory and practice when legal concepts fail to meet certain constraints on intelligibility, congeniality, efficiency, and memorability. We present a model of the formation of legal concepts and some constraints on their practical utility. We also suggest a research agenda that may allow us to better understand what sorts of legal concepts work, and which ones we discard and when.

Suggested Citation

McCubbins, Mathew D. and Turner, Mark B., Concepts of Law (October 21, 2013). Southern California Law Review. Volume 86, Issue 3, 517-572, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343425

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Mark B. Turner (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science ( email )

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7068
United States

HOME PAGE: http://markturner.org

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