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Are There Cross-Cultural Legal Principles? Modal Reasoning Uncovers Procedural Constraints on Law

Hannikainen, IR; Tobia, KP; de Almeida, GDFCF; Donelson, R; Dranseika, V; Kneer, M; Strohmaier, N; ... Struchiner, N; + view all (2021) Are There Cross-Cultural Legal Principles? Modal Reasoning Uncovers Procedural Constraints on Law. Cognitive Science , 45 (8) , Article e13024. 10.1111/cogs.13024. Green open access

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Abstract

Despite pervasive variation in the content of laws, legal theorists and anthropologists have argued that laws share certain abstract features and even speculated that law may be a human universal. In the present report, we evaluate this thesis through an experiment administered in 11 different countries. Are there cross-cultural principles of law? In a between-subjects design, participants (N = 3,054) were asked whether there could be laws that violate certain procedural principles (e.g., laws applied retrospectively or unintelligible laws), and also whether there are any such laws. Confirming our preregistered prediction, people reported that such laws cannot exist, but also (paradoxically) that there are such laws. These results document cross-culturally and –linguistically robust beliefs about the concept of law which defy people's grasp of how legal systems function in practice.

Type: Article
Title: Are There Cross-Cultural Legal Principles? Modal Reasoning Uncovers Procedural Constraints on Law
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/cogs.13024
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.13024
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Psychology, Experimental, Psychology, Concepts, Experimental jurisprudence, Human universals, Lon Fuller, Modality, Natural law, DUAL CHARACTER CONCEPTS, NORMATIVE DIMENSION
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137270
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