Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Situationist

A new blog, The Situationist, came online this week. This post explains the new blog's mission:
The SituationistPart of a larger effort, including the Project on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law School . . . , this blog will provide commentary by social psychologists, law professors, policy analysts, practicing attorneys, and others connected to law and mind sciences. Our posts . . . will address current events and law and policy debates, informed by what social scientists are discovering to be the causally significant features around us and within us that we believe are irrelvant or don’t even notice in explaining human behavior, that is “the situation.”

“Situationism” represents a striking contrast to the dominant conception of the human animal as a rational, or at least reasonable, preference-driven chooser, whose behavior reflects stable preferences, moderated by information processing and will, but little else. Different versions of the rational actor model have served as the basis for most laws, policies, and mainstream legal theories, at the same time that social psychology and related social scientific fields have discovered many ways in which that model is wrong.

The Situationist, then, will be a venue in which the powerful, influential, but incorrect conceptions of the human animal come up against more accurate, if surprising and unsettling, realizations about who we are and what the law is and ought to be.
Law Blog Central will preview The Situationist. The initial posts are fascinating. Jurisdynamics will be monitoring The Situation very closely.


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