Law and Method

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August, 2023 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Critical Thinking in Academic Legal Education

A Liberal Conception

Keywords critical thinking, academic legal education, legal skills training, social engagement
Authors Bart van Klink
AbstractAuthor's information

    Critical thinking is generally considered to be one of the central goals – if not the ultimate goal – of education. Critical thinking, as part of liberal learning, is done primarily for its own sake, for the sheer pleasure of thinking against the grain, exploring new ideas and thereby contributing to the development of scientific knowledge. The liberal conception of critical thinking is under threat, since education is nowadays turned into some form of social engagement. Increasingly, academic education is conceived in instrumental terms as a means to achieve some non-academic end: to create responsible ‘academic citizens’, who are committed to the values of diversity and inclusion and who are engaged in solving contemporary social problems. Against this tendency, this article defends a liberal conception of critical thinking in academic legal education and addresses three questions: (i) what is critical thinking? (ii) why do we need critical thinking? and (iii) how can we, as teachers, promote critical thinking in our students? Finally, it raises the question of whether a liberal conception of critical thinking rules out any kind of social engagement as pursued by universities in the present day.

Bart van Klink
Bart van Klink is Professor of Legal Methodology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Access_open Naar een gedragseconomie van het recht

Keywords behavioural law and economics, law and economics, experimental approach, incentive compatibility
Authors Marin Coerts, Berber Laarman, Jacobien Rutgers e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Behavioral economics builds on insights from behavioural sciences, primarily psychology, and aims to explain the behaviour of (groups of) individuals under conditions of scarcity. It applies an empirical methodology grounded in econometrics and based on experimental research. The authors’ proposition is that behavioural law and economics rooted in experiments is a valuable approach to legal studies that complements pre-existing law and economics. Experiments maximise the opportunity to identify causal links and norms as building blocks of the law as interventions in human behaviour, and hence are well suited in the context of empirical legal studies. The research design menu includes variables such as hypothetical decisions versus actual behaviour, experiments with or without full randomisation, pure or quasi, lab versus field, and natural experiments versus experiments that can be manipulated. Behavioural economics operates under conditions of incentive compatibility and the no-deception principle. In this article, the authors set out a research agenda for behavioural law and economics research, covering private law (consumer and contract law as well as liability and tort law), administrative law, and economic law.

Marin Coerts
Mr. Marin Coerts is PhD candidate, Faculty of Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Berber Laarman
Mr. dr. Berber Laarman is Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Jacobien Rutgers
Prof. mr. dr. Jacobien Rutgers Professor of private law, Faculty of Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Wolf Sauter
Prof. mr. dr. drs. Wolf Sauter is Professor law markets and behavior, Faculty of Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and expert at the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM), The Hague, The Netherlands.

Arjen van Witteloostuijn
Prof. dr. Arjen van Witteloostuijn is Dean of the School of Business and Economics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Professor at the Antwerp Management School, Antwerp, Belgium.