About this Research Topic
As testified by recent studies in computational legal studies, empirical legal research, neuroscience and law, this trend is gradually involving law - viz. both legal theory and practice. These studies suggest to consider law as a natural social phenomenon and as such, something that must be analyzed similarly to other natural, physical and social phenomena. Certain innovative approaches and methodologies, which are now popular in the social sciences, can help us to change the way the legal phenomenon is interpreted in that the complexity of law is understood in its factual and "natural" (biological, cognitive, social) dimensions. This can help us to extend and complete the traditional attention to the formal expressions of law (written norms, case law, legal literature), which are typically investigated by legal scholars.
This situation poses interesting challenges. From an epistemic standpoint, it fosters a "complexity-inspired" comprehension of all the phenomena that populate the legal universe from individual behavior to social institutions in which law emerges and evolves. From an application standpoint, the development of more "scientifically grounded" legal practices from policy modeling to regulation can be achieved.
This Research Topic aims to include theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions that look at law in a new complexity-friendly, trans-disciplinary perspective. It aims to provide recent advances in legal informatics, empirical legal studies, computational social sciences, neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, social simulation, and evolutionary game theory. Attention will be paid to analyses that cross-fertilize these fields.
We believe that and interdisciplinary debate on this topic can produce new challenging research questions that will deserve attention by legal science in the near future. Understanding law as a natural and social phenomenon is not only expected to identify grand challenges in various research fields; it can also have serious policy implications as it can contribute to develop a new intellectual framework through which law is conceived and inform new applications in the law domain.
Keywords: complexity, sociobiological foundations of law, socio-legal studies, computational social science, cognitive science
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