Evolution and the Common Law

Evolution and the Common Law

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Allan C. Hutchinson
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Illustrated, 4/4/2005
EAN 9780521849685, ISBN10: 0521849683

Hardcover, 306 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
Language: English
Originally published in English

This book offers a radical challenge to accounts of the common law's development. Contrary to received jurisprudential wisdom, it maintains there is no grand theory which will explain satisfactorily the dynamic interactions of change and stability in the common law's history. Offering original readings of Charles Darwin's and Hans-Georg Gadamer's works, the book shows that law is a rhetorical activity that can only be properly appreciated in its historical and political context; tradition and transformation are locked in a mutually reinforcing but thoroughly contingent embrace. In contrast to the dewy-eyed offerings of much contemporary work, it demonstrates that, like life, law is an organic process (i.e., events are the products of functional and localized causes) rather than a miraculous one (i.e., events are the result of some grand plan or intervention). In short, common law is a perpetual work-in-progress - evanescent, dynamic, messy, productive, tantalising, and bottom-up.

1. Evolution and the common law
an introduction
2. Darwin's excellent adventure
evolution and law
3. The creationists' persistence
jurisprudence and God
4. Taming the bulldog
the natural and pragmatic
5. Tracking the common law
the routine and revolutionary
6. Looking for Gadamer
traditions and transformations
7. Reading between the lines
courts and constitutions
8. Making changes
progress and politics
9. Among the trees
a conclusion.