Category Archives: Deontology and Moral Responsibility

Liam Murphy, ‘The artificial morality of private law: The persistence of an illusion’

ABSTRACT In the public at large, property and contract law are commonly thought to reflect moral proprietary and promissory rights. Contemporary philosophers are mostly sceptical about natural property rights, though not about promissory rights. I argue at length that contract and promise, no less than property, can only be justified instrumentally – by appeal to […]

Samantha Godwin, ‘Children’s Capacities and Paternalism’

ABSTRACT Paternalism is widely viewed as presumptively justifiable for children but morally problematic for adults. The standard explanation for this distinction is that children lack capacities relevant to the justifiability of paternalism. I argue that this explanation is more difficult to defend than typically assumed. If paternalism is often justified when needed to keep children […]

‘Medieval Theories of Obligationes

“Obligationes (literally, ‘obligations’) or disputations de obligationibus were a medieval disputation format that became very widespread in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Although their name might suggest they had something especially to do with ethics or moral duty, they did not. The purpose of these disputations was strictly logical. Several kinds of disputations de obligationibus […]

Roberto Fumagalli, ‘Buyer Beware: A Critique of Leading Virtue Ethics Defenses of Markets’

INTRODUCTION … In this paper, I join this debate and argue for three claims of general interest to philosophers, economists and policy makers. First, market transactions do not reliably promote individuals’ intentions for mutual benefit, and often select against such intentions. Second, the set of so-called market virtues lacks a substantial overlap with the set […]

Workshop on ‘Lying in the Philosophy of Law’: Centre for Law and Society, School of Law, Lancaster University, 9 June 2020

How should the law deal with lying? Sometimes the law imposes strict sanctions on liars, as in the case of perjury; in other cases, like bargaining over the price of a car, there are more limited remedies. This workshop will bring together legal scholars and philosophers with an academic interest in lying to see whether […]

Crescente Molina, ‘Promises, Rights, and Deontic Control’

ABSTRACT This article argues that the notion of a promissory right captures a central feature of the morality of promising which cannot be explained by the notion of promissory obligation alone: the fact that the promisee acquires a full range of control over the promisor’s obligation. It defends two main claims. First, it argues that […]

Paul James Kalondo, ‘Duress, Undue Influence and the Ethics of Pre-contractual Negotiation’

ABSTRACT This paper explores the doctrines of duress and undue influence in contract law. It traces the origins of the two doctrines, in an attempt to decipher their inner morality. Majority of the foundational contract law doctrines and principles rooted in the common law are now tempered with an assortment of equitable concerns and the […]

Kimberley Brownlee, ‘Getting Rights out of Wrongs’

ABSTRACT This chapter presents a typology of the rights that we can get through wrongdoing. It builds up a profile of the contexts in which new wrong-generated rights seem to emerge when we do wrong ourselves (Section 1), and when others do wrong (Section 2). The chapter then analyses why some wrongs change the moral […]

Daniele Bruno, ‘Trust-Based Theories of Promising’

ABSTRACT This paper discusses the prospects of a comprehensive philosophical account of promising that relies centrally on the notion of trust. I lay out the core idea behind the Trust View, showing how it convincingly explains the normative contours and the unique value of our promissory practice. I then sketch three distinct options of how […]

Yitzhak Benbaji, ‘Welfare and Freedom: Towards a Semi-Kantian Theory of Private Law’

ABSTRACT The Kantian theory of private law, as Ernest Weinrib and Arthur Ripstein have developed it over the last two decades, is based on a fundamental normative truth, viz, no person is subordinate or superior to another person. Kantians construe any attempt to understand and justify the distribution of the rights-claims and rights-liberties that constitute […]