Category Archives: Deontic theory

John Gardner, ‘Tort Law and Its Theory’

Abstract This paper explores the body of scholarly writing known as ‘tort theory’, and in particular the polarization of ‘economic’ and ‘moral’ approaches to the subject. It queries the ambitions, the discourses, and the presuppositions of work on both sides of that divide. In particular it investigates: the sense in which both approaches are (and […]

Zamir and Medina, ‘Deontological Morality and Economic Analysis of Law’

Abstract Welfare economics – the normative branch of economics – is a consequentialist moral theory. Unlike deontological morality, at least in its basic form it attributes no intrinsic value to prohibitions on active or intentional harming of other people, lying, or promise breaking, and does not allow people to prioritize their own interests over the […]

Alejandro Miranda, ‘Consequentialism, the Action/Omission Distinction, and the Principle of Double Effect: Three Rival Criteria to Solve Vital Conflicts in Cases of Necessity’

Abstract In this paper, the principle of double effect is compared with two other methods to solve vital conflicts in cases of necessity, ie, situations in which the life of a person can only be saved by an action that causes the death of another. After determining some key concepts, the consequentialist method of moral […]

Chapin Cimino, ‘Doing Deals with Aristotle – Today’

Abstract This analysis proceeds in six steps. In Part I, this Article sets the stage by describing the problem: while contracting behavior is increasingly complex, contract law and theory remain stubbornly uni-faceted. That is, while contracting and contractors are ever more modern, contract law and theory are ever more traditional. The greater the divide, the […]

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 […]