This chapter on Arthur Linton Corbin will appear in the forthcoming collection, Scholars of Contract Law. The chapter provides a brief summary of Corbin’s life, then discusses five topics: Corbin’s Socratic approach to the classroom and his introduction of the caselaw method at Yale; Corbin’s analytic approach, which was inspired by Hohfeld and is illustrated by Corbin’s definitions of ‘contract’ and ‘consideration’; Corbin’s evolutionary theory of the common law, his understanding of the relationship between law and social mores, and his insistence that legal rules always be treated as mere ‘working rules’; Corbin’s occasional appeal, despite his general aversion to high theory, to the reliance theory of contract; and Corbin’s account of contract interpretation, where one sees the reliance theory at work, together with a surprisingly narrow conception of meaning.
Klass, Gregory, Arthur Linton Corbin (July 22, 2021). Forthcoming in Scholars of Contract Law (James Goudkamp and Donal Nolan eds, Hart Publishing, 2021). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works 2400.