The Evolutionary Path of the Law [Book Review]

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What lessons can legal scholars learn from the life and work of W. D. "Bill" Hamilton, a lifelong student of nature? From my small corner of the legal Academia, three aspects of Bill Hamilton’s work in evolutionary biology stand out in particular: (i) Hamilton’s simple and beautiful model of social behavior in terms of costs and benefits; (ii) his fruitful collaboration with the political theorist Robert Axelrod and their unexpected yet elegant solution of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, an important game or puzzle that had defied solution until Hamilton and Axelrod came along; and (iii) Hamilton’s conception of science generally -- and in particular his view of the process of scientific justification -- as a form of trial advocacy. In this review of Ullica Segerstråle’s recently-published biography of Bill Hamilton, the author briefly recounts and reviews each one of these important contributions.
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Archival date: 2014-07-29
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