chapter  9
18 Pages

Marital Cooperation and Conflict

Laws aws and policies are instituted to regulate the pursuit of individual self-interest in situations in which people’s interests may conflict. A theory of what those interests are, and of where they are likely to conflict, is a theory of human nature. It follows that all notions about what sorts of laws and policies would be effective and just are predicated upon theories of human nature, and more specifically of the nature of the human psyche: fundamental desires, social inference processes, specific susceptibilities to developmental influences, and so forth. However, the theories of human nature that inform legislative and policy debates are often implicit and unexamined, which is unfortunate because they are not always sound. Because psychological and social scientists are in the business of making models of human nature explicit, in order to test their validity, both the theories and the discoveries of psychological and social science can be relevant to the deliberations of legal scholars and policymakers. Moreover, because the human psyche is undoubtedly a product of the evolutionary process, consideration of how that process works can be a valuable guide in the pursuit of better models of the nature of the human psyche.