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Can Evolutionary Science Contribute to Discussions of Law?

7 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2007  

Jeffrey Evans Stake

Indiana University Maurer School of Law


Evolutionary Theory can be helpful in understanding the law and determining what it should be. There are two ways in which the evolutionary perspective differs from an economic perspective on law. Not only does the evolutionary approach shift our attention from the world today to the environment of evolutionary adaptation, it shifts our focus from rational individuals to rational genes and from rational behaviors to rational design of mental architecture. Finally, the law of law's leverage makes predictions about the relative elasticities of demand for all sorts of behaviors, including those that did and did not exist in the environment of evolutionary adaptation.

Keywords: Evolution, tastes, irrational brain, law and economics, EEA, environment of evolutionary adaptedness, Trivers-Willard

Suggested Citation

Stake, Jeffrey Evans, Can Evolutionary Science Contribute to Discussions of Law?. Jurimetrics, Vol. 41, p. 379, 2001. Available at SSRN:

Jeffrey Evans Stake (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-4444 (Phone)

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