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Contract as PromiseA Theory of Contractual Obligation$
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Charles Fried

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190240158

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190240158.001.0001

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The Life of Contract

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
Contract as Promise

Charles Fried

Oxford University Press

This introduction sets the project in the context of classical contract theory, which it largely accepts, and the critical legal studies, which it largely rejects. It sets forth as the moral basis for contract law what the author terms the promise principle: the principle by which persons may impose moral obligations on themselves where none existed before. The chapter touches on the relationship between contract and tort law, and mentions the views of other prominent thinkers, including David Hume, Lawrence Friedman, Grant, Gilmore, Morton Horowitz, Duncan Kennedy, Richard Posner, Anthony Kronman, and Ian Macneil, as well as the impact of Lon Fuller and William Perdue’s influential 1936 article.

Keywords:   free markets, critical legal studies, classical liberalism, death of contract, classical contract theory

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