Is the behavioral approach a form of scientific imperialism? An analysis of law and policy.

Is the behavioral approach a form of scientific imperialism? An analysis of law and policy.

Małecka, Magdalena & Lepenies, Robert: "Is the behavioural approach a form of scientific imperialism? An analysis of law and policy". in Maki U., Fernandez-Pinto M., Walsh A., Scientific imperialism: exploring the boundaries of interdisciplinarity, Routledge

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The rapid development and growing popularity of behaviorally informed analyses of law and policy has been met with skepticism. Are the legal sciences the target of “behavioral imperialism”? And more generally, is it permissible to apply scientific theories and methods outside the discipline in which they were initially introduced?

The aim of this chapter is twofold. First, we analyse the recent behavioral reorientation by using conceptual distinctions made in the philosophy of science in discussions on scientific imperialism. Second, we propose a modified definition of scientific imperialism.
We propose that scientific imperialism should not be understood as a purely interdisciplinary phenomenon (Maki). We argue that one should only speak of scientific imperialism in cases where scientific trespassing results in impacting the distribution and character of "standing" of scientific approaches. Further, only those instances of scientific trespassing can be called imperialistic which pursue a notion of "scientific progress" and which are justified as "more progressive" without convincingy backing up these claims.

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