Pragmatism, Evolutionary Theory and the Plurality of Legal Systems: On Susan Haack’s Philosophy of Law

  • Helena Baldina
  • Andreas Bruns
  • Johannes Müller-Salo
Part of the Münster Lectures in Philosophy book series (MUELP, volume 2)


This paper offers an account of Susan Haack’s philosophy of law and points out several aspects within the legal pragmatist tradition that deserve further discussion. Firstly, a systematic presentation of legal pragmatism as it is defended by Haack, who follows Justice Oliver W. Holmes here, is given. Secondly, the limits of an evolutionary perspective of law recommended by legal pragmatism are considered. Finally, the paper discusses whether legal pragmatism is able to handle different legal traditions, thereby focusing on Anglo-American common law and European civil law.


Legal System Evolutionary Theory Evolutionary Perspective Legal Order Legal Scholar 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Benda-Beckmann, Franz v., and Keebet v. Benda-Beckmann. 1998. Evolutionismus und Recht: Komplexe Fragen zu komplexen Gesellschaften. In Evolution des Rechts, ed. R. Voigt, 93–117. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag.Google Scholar
  2. Boyd, Robert, and Peter J. Richerson. 2005. The origin and evolution of cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Boyd, Robert, and Peter J. Richerson. 2006. Not by genes alone: How culture transformed human evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Dennett, Daniel. 1995. Darwin’s dangerous idea. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  5. Elias, Norbert. 2012. On the process of civilisation: Sociogenetic and psychogenetic investigations, The collected works of Norbert Elias, vol. 3. Dublin: University College Dublin Press.Google Scholar
  6. Elliott, Donald E. 1997. Law and biology: The new synthesis? Saint Louis University Law Journal 41: 595–624.Google Scholar
  7. Haack, Susan. 2004a. Pragmatism, old and new. Contemporary Pragmatism 1: 3–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Haack, Susan. 2004b. Truth and justice, inquiry and advocacy, science and law. Ratio Juris 17: 15–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Haack, Susan. 2005. On legal pragmatism: Where does “the path of the law” lead us? The American Journal of Jurisprudence 50: 71–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Haack, Susan. 2008. The pluralistic universe of law: Towards a neo-classical legal pragmatism. Ratio Juris 21: 453–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Haack, Susan. 2011. Pragmatism, law and morality: The lessons of Buck vs. Bell. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 3: 65–87.Google Scholar
  12. Haack, Susan. 2014. Nothing fancy: A few simple truths about truth in the law. In Evidence matters. Science, proof and truth in the law, 294–323. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Henke, Christoph. 2010. Über die Evolution des Rechts. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.Google Scholar
  14. Hertel, Christian. 2009. Comparative law: Legal systems of the world—An overview. Notarius International 1–2: 128–141.Google Scholar
  15. Holmes, Oliver Wendell Jr. 1963 [1881]. The common law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Holmes, Oliver Wendell Jr. 2011 [1897]. The path of the law. New Orleans: Quid Pro Books.Google Scholar
  17. Luhmann, Niklas. 2004 [1984]. Law as a social system. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lyotard, Jean-François. 1984. La Condition Postmoderne: Rapport sur le Savoir. English edition: Lyotard, Jean-François. 1984. The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge, ed. Fredric Jameson. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Mayr, Ernst. 2002. What evolution is. London: Phoenix.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Baldina
    • 1
  • Andreas Bruns
    • 2
  • Johannes Müller-Salo
    • 2
  1. 1.WWU MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Advanced Study in BioethicsWWU MünsterMünsterGermany

Personalised recommendations