Building blocks of legal behaviour. The evolution of law

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Abstract:

Flack and de Waal's exploration of basic building blocks of moral systems among non-human primates indicates that human legal systems and legal behaviour are not purely the product of the environment. An examination of some of the ways in which capacities for reciprocity, retributive behaviours, moralistic aggression, dispute resolution, sympathy, and empathy play roles in contemporary law and legal behaviour shows that these capacities are both ubiquitous and facilitative of legal systems. No attempt is made to reduce all legal systems or legal behaviour to these building block predispositions. However, the creation of legal systems and the willingness and ability to make and abide by laws emerged from certain human predispositions -- the ‘basic building blocks'.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 158 Goya Road, Portola Valley, CA 94028. USA

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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