Law & Science: Toward a Unified Field

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To be relevant to the real world and to have a reasonable chance of producing fair outcomes, legal and political decisionmaking must take science into account. Scholars have been aware of this for over fifty years. The need for law to be informed by rigorous science is compelling, as we must make collective decisions that impact our sustainability and our humanity on a global scale. However, the field of Law & Science remains as fragmented now as it was a half-century ago. We have yet to find a reliable way to establish coherent interdisciplinary interaction that enables science to inform legal decisionmaking across a variety of disciplinary fields and cultural contexts. Approaching the problems of interdisciplinary interaction that vex Law & Science as instances of cross-cultural communication, this Article proposes that the lawyer and the scientist need not be fully conversant in each other's languages to work together: lawyers can do much to ensure that science is properly used to inform the law by understanding what scientists think they are doing, and who they think they are. As expert negotiators, lawyers can develop genuine respect for scientists' values, methods, and goals, promoting effective interdisciplinary collaboration and producing well informed decisions that merit public trust.

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