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History Matters: A Survey of Ideas about Evolution in Western Legal Theory from Antiquity to the Present Day in order to Propound a Theory of Evolutionary Jurisprudence

Rigby, H.J. (2017) History Matters: A Survey of Ideas about Evolution in Western Legal Theory from Antiquity to the Present Day in order to Propound a Theory of Evolutionary Jurisprudence. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Evolutionary jurisprudence (also known as evolutionary legal theory or legal evolutionary theory) is a relatively new concept in legal theory. Some jurisprudence textbooks cheerfully dedicate entire chapters to it, while others do not even mention it. Evolutionary jurisprudence has struggled to gain a place in the legal theory pantheon due to its association with misconceived notions of what ‘evolution’ means such as Social Darwinism. However, linking evolution with jurisprudence is understandable since ideas about evolution, had a significant influence on western legal, social, economic, and political theories long before Darwin. This thesis surveys ideas about evolution from pre-Socratic Ancient Greece to the present day in law, sociology, economics, politics, and science. In particular, this thesis examines the influence of evolutionary thought on schools of western legal theory including historical and anthropological jurisprudence, sociological jurisprudence, Marxist Jurisprudence, feminist jurisprudence, critical legal studies, and postmodernist jurisprudence. Finally, the author propounds, based on this survey and what he submits to be an appropriate conceptualisation of evolution in a law and legal systems context, a fully workable theory of evolutionary jurisprudence, not only in descriptive terms but also in normative terms.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Supervisor: Zimmermann, Augusto
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/36963
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