Empirical knowledge, common sense, and legal cognition
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In the last decades, empirical research on human behaviour has become more and more relevant in public policy debates. Neuro-sciences have opened technological opportunities such as ‘human enhancement’ which challenge common sense ideas of individual autonomy. In legal scholarship, interdisciplinary approaches such as empirical legal studies and behavioural law and economics gain popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. These tendencies suggest more reliance on empirical methods and more focus on the actual processes of human cognition and decision-making in legally relevant contexts. Still, actual legal rules and doctrines seem to resist an easy import of these insights.
Is there indeed such a resistance? What are the reasons for it? Is it simply ignorance and laziness of policymakers, legal officials or scholars? Are the reasons more related to doctrinal structures, institutional features or normative foundations of modern legal systems? To what extent is the law's model of the world based on empirical knowledge, on common sense or on something else? Is there a fundamental discrepancy between what we think to know from science and "how the law thinks"? Should there be?
In this workshop lawyers, philosophers, economists, psychologists and other scientists will contribute to the discussion of these questions. The goal is the have a genuinely interdisciplinary workshop where contributors are willing to confront different perspectives and engage in self-reflection about their own discipline(s). Various approaches are possible. For instance, experimental researchers can discuss the methodological and substantive problems related to drawing legally relevant policy conclusions from empirical results. It can be discussed how experimental and non-experimental kinds of empirical work are received, applied and resisted in various legal domains. The role of common sense in the law can be assessed analytically, comparatively, or critically. The relationship of empirical research and doctrinal knowledge can be discussed from philosophical, historical or sociological perspectives.
The workshop is the third yearly event of MetaLawEcon, an international research network on the philosophical and methodological foundations of economic analysis of law. We also expect and explicitly encourage participation of scholars who do not associate themselves with ‘law and economics'.
Reasonable travel costs and accommodation for speakers will be covered.
Contact: Peter Cserne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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