Postmodern Legal Thought and Cognitive Science

57 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2006 Last revised: 31 Mar 2014


The article criticizes postmodern legal thought using insights of cognitive science. The insights that cognitive science can bring to jurisprudence is the next frontier for legal philosophy. As Professor John Monahan has stated, "the question I want to raise is whether evolutionary psychology [a branch of cognitive science] . . . could play the same central role in legal scholarship for the next thirty years that economics has played for the past thirty." John Monahan, Symposium: Violence in the Family: Could "Law and Evolution" Be the Next "Law and Economics" 8 Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 123 (2000).

Part II of the paper examines postmodern legal thought. Part III then introduces basic concepts of cognitive science, and Part IV demonstrates how insights of cognitive science weaken the foundations of postmodern legal thought. Part V shows the existence of universals in the human mind, which destroys the strong moral relativism underlying postmodernism. Finally, Part VI presents an alternative to postmodernism's radical political theories, based on cognitive science.

Keywords: jurisprudence, cognitive science, postmodernism

Suggested Citation

Fruehwald, Edwin S., Postmodern Legal Thought and Cognitive Science. Georgia State University Law Review, Forthcoming, Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research, Available at SSRN:

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