Situationist contributors Adam Benforado and Jon Hanson’s article “The Great Attributional Divide: How Divergent Views of Human Behavior are Shaping Legal Policy,” (57 Emory Law Review, 2008) recently made the SSRN all-time top-ten list for or Journal of Law & Society: Private Law – Discrimination Law eJournal. Here’s the abstract.
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This article, the first of a multipart series, argues that a major rift runs across many of our major policy debates based on our attributional tendencies: the less accurate dispositionist approach, which explains outcomes and behavior with reference to people’s dispositions (i.e., personalities, preferences, and the like), and the more accurate situationist approach, which bases attributions of causation and responsibility on unseen influences within us and around us. Given that situationism offers a truer picture of our world than the alternative, and given that attributional tendencies are largely the result of elements in our situations, identifying the relevant elements should be a major priority of legal scholars. With such information, legal academics could predict which individuals, institutions, and societies are most likely to produce situationist ideas – in other words, which have the greatest potential for developing the accurate attributions of human behavior that are so important to law.
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To download the article for free, click here.
To read a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Legal Academic Backlash - Abstract,” “Naïve Cynicism in Election 2008: Dispositionism v. Situationism?,” “The Great Attributional Divide – Abstract,” “The Situation of ‘Common Sense’,” “The Situation of Political Animals,” “Do NOT Read This Post!,” “Naïve Cynicism in Election 2008: Dispositionism v. Situationism?,” “Your Brain on Politics.”