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About Hugh Gibbons

Hugh Gibbons taught law for thirty-one years at Franklin Pierce Law Center, now the University of New Hampshire School of Law. In a field in which teachers tend to focus on a narrow specialty, his interests ranged broadly across the law, teaching courses in Torts, Property, Corporations, Law and Economics, Legal Philosophy, Computers and Law, Medical Malpractice, and many others. This range of study convinced him that there was a common core to law, a "generative principle" that makes of law, not a series of arbitrary administrative fiats, but a self-consistent set of human guides.

Early in his career, he was teaching law and economics in Evanston, Illinois when in 1973 Aldine published William T. Powers’ seminal work Behavior: The Control of Perception. Because Powers had contacts in Evanston, Gibbons learned of this work right away. He read it and realized that it refutes contemporary psychology and its methods—which have been of very limited use for understanding law or for resolving legal conflicts.

Working alone, Gibbons’ first interpretation of PCT and its application to law came in 1984: Justifying Law: An Explanation of the Deep Structure of American Law, Law and Philosophy, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 165-279.
Gibbons proceeded to develop course literature to teach new students how to understand law using the principles of PCT. This took the form of The Death of Jeffrey Stapleton, with the final version ready by 1990. As you can see in this work, PCT explains motivation in a way that makes sense to lawyers.
But professor Gibbons did not stop there. Through the 1990s and early 2000s he kept thinking about PCT and the basics of law. He proceeded to develop Rights and Wrongs: The Tangled Twins of American Law (2001). A multimedia program on cd-rom, this has been converted to a series of videos, posted at under story.
Gibbons followed up with The Biological Basis of Human Rights, presented at the 4th Annual Scholarship Conference of the Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law, 2002. Published by the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal, Vol 13, Number 1 (Fall 2003).
Finally, before he retired in 2005, Gibbons created the website BiologyOfLaw. Once abandoned, this has now been substantially restored: Papers mentioned above are available here.


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