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 us the relationship between mechanics and heat. In economics, the theory of the firm showed us that, across industries that look nothing alike, a simple principle helps explain the organization of economic activity. Of course, there is no guarantee that the disparate phenomena we suspect are linked actually are. Particle physicists continue to search for a Grand Unified Theory, which would integrate gravity with the other fundamental forces. It may be that there is no such theory, or that we are not in a position to discover it, even if there is one. But absent such a theory, our understanding of the way the world works seems incomplete. And our track record of linking disparate physical phenomena (mechanics and heat, electricity and magnetism, space and time) gives us good reason to suppose that there are deeper explanations in the offing …

Scott Hershovitz, The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Tort Law 130 Harvard Law Review 942 (2017).

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