Extrascientific uses of physics: The case of nonlinear dynamics and legal theory

This essay explores the metaphorical use of the area of nonlinear dynamics popularly known as "chaos theory," surveying its use in one particular field: legal theory. After sketching some of the mistakes encountered in these efforts, I outline the possibility of the fruitful use of nonlinear dynamics for thinking about our legal system. I then offer some general lessons to be drawn from these examples-both cautionary maxims and a limited defense of cross-disciplinary borrowing. I conclude with some reflections on the nature of arguments that seek to establish intellectual authority or epistemic merit by analogical reasoning
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