Category Archives: Deontic theory

JE Penner, ‘We All Make Mistakes: A “Duty of Virtue” Theory of Restitutionary Liability for Mistaken Payments’

Abstract In contrast to the moral foundations of contract, tort, and the law of property, which are generally regarded as elements of Kantian ‘right’, the liability to return the value of mistaken payments is, it is argued, an example of the law’s enforcing a duty of virtue, the legalisation of the duty of beneficence in […]

Hurd and Moore, ‘The Hohfeldian Analysis of Rights’

Abstract This article is about Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld’s famous analysis of one of the most basic concepts used in law and in ethics: the concept of a right. Hohfeld urged that usages of the term ‘right’ are ambiguous between two senses of the word: persons have rights to do things and rights to have things […]

‘Shiffrin on Morality and Negligence’

“Seana Shiffrin’s The Moral Neglect of Negligence (Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy vol 3) has been posted on dropbox. Here is an excerpt: ‘The moral significance of negligence is regularly downplayed in the legal and philosophical literature. Some question whether negligence is a coherent wrong at all, while others locate it on a fairly low […]

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 […]