Darwins Excellent Adventure Evolution and

The attraction of biological analogies on social scientists, in particular, seems to be so great that even the best minds are led astray.1 Few voyages could have had such a profound effect as darwin's five-year stint on the H.M.S. Beagle. A novice naturalist on his departure in 1831, he returned a mature scientist with the set of basic ideas that were to prove truly revolutionary not only in biology but also in human affairs generally. If Galileo had shown that humankind was not at the center...

The Oxford Debate

The venue - the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Oxford's newly built Museum of Natural History - and the occasion - a lecture on European social development by a relatively unknown American scholar - were fairly unremarkable. However, the impromptu debate that followed, although much anticipated by the unprecedented and eminent 700 persons in attendance, has become the fabled stuff of historical moment. Occurring on Saturday, June 30, 1860, only six...

Jurisprudence and Evolution

Since its first expression almost 150 years ago, Darwin's controversial thesis about biological development has been cannibalized or poached by most other disciplines. Law is no exception to this trend. Indeed, the evolutionary metaphor has always loomed over jurisprudential efforts to explicate the nature of the common law. At times, its invocation has been modest, oblique, and implicit at other times, its usage has been much more sweeping, bold, and explicit. The most potent use of the...

Paint It Black

Much legal scholarship continues to operate within the cramping and pervasive spirit of a 'black-letter' mentality. By this, I mean the tendency of lawyers to focus almost exclusively on formal material in a way that rarely gets beyond a taxonomic stock taking. Originally a typographical term, 'black-letter law' was used to refer to rudimentary principles that were printed in boldface type in traditional law texts.12 However, it has come to designate an approach to law that claims to...