Are There Cross-Cultural Legal Principles? Modal Reasoning Uncovers Procedural Constraints on Law

Cognitive Science (Forthcoming)

26 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2021 Last revised: 1 Jul 2021

See all articles by Ivar Hannikainen

Ivar Hannikainen

University of Sheffield - Department of Philosophy; Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)

Kevin Tobia

Georgetown University Law Center; Georgetown University - Department of Philosophy

Guilherme Almeida

FGV Direito Rio

Raff Donelson

Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law

Vilius Dranseika

Independent

Markus Kneer

University of Zurich

Strohmaier Niek

Independent

Piotr Bystranowski

Interdisciplinary Centre for Ethics; Jagiellonian University

Kristina Dolinina

Independent

Bartosz Janik

Independent

Sothie Keo

Independent

Egle Lauraityte

Vilnius University - Faculty of Law

Alice Liefgreen

University College London - Department of Experimental Psychology, Affective Brain Lab

Maciej Próchnicki

Independent

Alejandro Rosas Martinez

Independent

Noel Struchiner

PUC-Rio

Date Written: June 10, 2021

Abstract

Despite pervasive variation in the content of laws, legal theorists and anthropologists have often argued that laws share certain abstract features and even speculated that law may be a human universal. In the present report, we contribute cross-cultural data to this debate: Are there cross-cultural principles of law? Participants in eleven different countries (N = 3054) were asked whether there could be laws that violate certain procedural principles (e.g., laws applied retrospectively or unintelligible laws), and also whether there are any such laws—in a between-subjects design. Confirming our pre-registered prediction, people reported that such laws cannot exist, but also (paradoxically) that there are such laws. These results document cross-culturally and –linguistically robust beliefs about the nature of law which defy people’s conception of how legal systems function in practice.

Suggested Citation

Hannikainen, Ivar and Tobia, Kevin and Almeida, Guilherme and Donelson, Raff and Dranseika, Vilius and Kneer, Markus and Niek, Strohmaier and Bystranowski, Piotr and Dolinina, Kristina and Janik, Bartosz and Keo, Sothie and Lauraityte, Egle and Liefgreen, Alice and Próchnicki, Maciej and Rosas Martinez, Alejandro and Struchiner, Noel, Are There Cross-Cultural Legal Principles? Modal Reasoning Uncovers Procedural Constraints on Law (June 10, 2021). Cognitive Science (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3864374 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3864374

Ivar Hannikainen

University of Sheffield - Department of Philosophy ( email )

Arts Tower
Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN
United Kingdom

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) ( email )

Rua Marquas de Sao Vicente, 225
Rio De Janeiro, RJ 22453-900
Brazil

Kevin Tobia (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/kevin-tobia/

Georgetown University - Department of Philosophy

37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
United States

Guilherme Almeida

FGV Direito Rio ( email )

Praia de Botafogo, 190
Rio de Janeiro, 22250-900
Brazil

Raff Donelson

Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law ( email )

150 S College St
Carlisle, PA 17013
United States

Vilius Dranseika

Independent ( email )

Markus Kneer

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Strohmaier Niek

Independent ( email )

Piotr Bystranowski

Interdisciplinary Centre for Ethics; Jagiellonian University ( email )

Collegium Novum
ul. Gołębia 24
Kraków, 31-007
Poland
31-007 (Fax)

Kristina Dolinina

Independent

Bartosz Janik

Independent ( email )

Sothie Keo

Independent

Egle Lauraityte

Vilnius University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Saulėtekio ave. 9, building I
Vilnius, LT-10222
Lithuania

Alice Liefgreen

University College London - Department of Experimental Psychology, Affective Brain Lab ( email )

26 Bedford Way
London, WC1H
United Kingdom

Maciej Próchnicki

Independent

Noel Struchiner

PUC-Rio ( email )

Brazil

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