Category Archives: Deontic theory

Richard Epstein, ‘Smart Consequentialism: Kantian Moral Theory and the (Qualified) Defense of Capitalism’

Abstract: Moral philosophers have often grappled with defining rights and duties without looking to the overall consequences of certain rules. The leading defender of that position is Immanuel Kant, whose moral theory talks about how to universalize given norms without regard to their consequences. In this essay I claim that the Kantian standards are met […]

Christopher Thompson, ‘The Moral Agency of Group Agents’

Abstract: Christian List and Philip Pettit have recently developed a model of group agency on which an autonomous group agent can be formed, by deductive inference, from the beliefs and preferences of the individual group members. In this paper I raise doubts as to whether this type of group agent is a moral agent. The […]

Heidi Hurd, ‘Promises Schmomises’

Abstract: In this piece, I argue that promises need not be kept just because they were made. This is not to say, however, that unwise, unhappy, and unfortunate promises do not generate obligations. When broken promises will result either in wrongful gains to promisors or wrongful losses to promisees, obligations of corrective justice will demand […]

Scott Hershovitz, ‘The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Tort Law’

Private Wrongs by Arthur Ripstein, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. 2016. Pp. ix, 313. $49.95. Theorists like to do a lot with a little. And not just because simple theories seem more elegant: we deepen our understanding when we learn that disparate phenomena are linked together. In physics, for example, the theory of thermodynamics showed […]

‘Are Corporations Responsible Agents?’

Benjamin Ewing, The Structure of Tort Law, Revisited: The Problem of Corporate Responsibility, 8 Journal of Tort Law 1 (2015). In The Structure of Tort Law, Revisited: The Problem of Corporate Responsibility, Benjamin Ewing, a visiting assistant professor at Duke Law School, breaks fresh ground by stitching together contemporary tort theory and recent philosophical work […]

Sergio Mittlaender Leme de Souza, ‘Morality, Compensation, and the Contractual Obligation’

Abstract: This article presents empirical estimates that two thirds of the people perceive breach of contract followed by compensation for the promisee as not immoral. In the absence of compensation, it reveals that most individuals perceive the moral value of breach depending on the consequences thereof, with the unfairness of the outcome – and not […]

Bailey Kuklin, ‘Private Requitals’

Abstract: Legal and moral norms have expanded their protections of individual autonomy over the centuries. The emphasis and impressions by most scholars regarding this progress, however, have been misleading, in my view. It is not that we have developed better standards by which to protect a pre-existing conception of autonomy. This puts the endeavor backwards. […]

Just published: Allan Beever, A Theory of Tort Liability

This book provides a comprehensive theory of the rights upon which tort law is based and the liability that flows from violating those rights. Inspired by the account of private law contained in Immanuel Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, the book shows that Kant’s theory elucidates a conception of interpersonal wrongdoing that illuminates the operation of […]

Andrew Gold, ‘Private Rights and Private Wrongs’

Abstract: This essay reviews Arthur Ripstein’s new book, Private Wrongs (Harvard University Press, 2016). Private Wrongs will be a landmark in tort theory, as it brilliantly applies Ripstein’s Kantian account of tort law to legal doctrine. At the center of the book’s argument is the view that one person should not get to be in […]

Carmen Pavel, ‘A Legal Conventionalist Approach to Pollution’

Abstract: There are no moral entitlements with respect to pollution prior to legal conventions that establish them, or so I will argue. While some moral entitlements precede legal conventions, pollution is part of a category of harms against interests that stands apart in this regard. More specifically, pollution is a problematic type of harm that […]