CHAPTER 3From Commons to Capital

The Evolution of Western Legal Thought

The fundamental transformation in science that produced the mechanistic approach and its notion of the laws of nature finds striking parallels in the development of Western legal thought. Just as scientific thinkers following Galileo, Descartes, and Newton divided the whole into an aggregate of separate parts governed by strict laws of nature, legal scientists fragmented the medieval legal order, a holistic system that had adapted customary religious and Roman law materials to the practical requirements of flesh-and-blood human relationships. In the transition to modernity, Western legal scholars began to conceive of the law as an aggregate of discrete component parts governed ...

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