XXV World Congress

Internationalen Vereinigung für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (IVR)

Goethe UniversityFrankfurt am Main, Germany

15. - 20. August 2011

Law as Exact Science

Michael Heather & Nick Rossiter

Northumbria University, Newcastle NE2 1XE, UK



While physics is the exact science of the natural sciences Law is the exact science of the social sciences and needs the same formal rigour if it is to give exact answers in the way the social world is to be configured. Legal normative order is no more arbitrary than the laws of nature. Indeed legal norms are inherently bound up with the facts of this world and have therefore to obey those self same laws of physics. This gives rise to an international common law whose effect is of little consequences locally as in domestic legislation but comes powerfully into force like a tsunami sweeping along on the tide of globalisation. The positivism of the last two centuries has proved inadequate in the face that tide.

International law both civil and criminal is more than a scaling up of parochial jurisdictions which have weak foundations. International institutions and movements are proving to be built on sand. Thus for instance the law of the environment does not recognise local boundaries whether geographical or legal It comes down to us from a higher metaphysical order. It is the obvious and extreme example where the laws of science and of the law cannot be prised apart. International commerce needs a logically consistent theory for the creation and operation of corporate law. Economics has not proved of sufficient scientific exactness to guide the development of financial services. International organisations like the UN, European, Arab, African and other like Unions are not proving to have constitutions that are sufficiently sound scientifically to cope with conflicts in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya or transactions of the Euro. Even the human rights movement has proving to have feet of clay. The unresolved dichotomy of human rights and freedom of speech is currently bringing the English courts the police and the whole rule of law in the UK into disrepute.

Few realise the critical role of legal theory in shaping the world’s destiny. The science of Law is a missing component in the development of global government of economies, industry and commerce on the planet. The people may not appreciate that they are calling for a much more scientific approach to Law to provide exact results. This paper surveys in formal terms the metaphysical significance for jurisprudence of how the Law forms part of the fabric of our scientific universe.