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Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law$
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Gregory Klass, George Letsas, and Prince Saprai

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713012

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713012.001.0001

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Introduction to Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law

Introduction to Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law

(p.1) 1 Introduction to Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law
Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law

Gregory Klass

Oxford University Press

This Introduction describes the major issues and approaches in contemporary contract theory and locates the chapters in the volume within the field. Contract theory is characterized by diversity both in the questions asked and in the methods used to answer them. Among the questions are: What is distinctive about contract law? What are its core concepts? For what purpose do we enforce contracts? What justifies their enforcement? Given one or another function or justification, what should the rules of contract law be? What moral or political principles are relevant to the enforcement of contracts? There is also variety in method. Principled arguments of contract start from above. They ask first what justifies having a law of contract, and from that derive what the rules of contract law should be. Interpretive arguments begin from below. They examine the contract law we have, then ask what functions and justifications provide the best account of the practice. Critical analyses look for hidden purposes or unintended consequences, such as contract law’s role in legitimizing or reproducing power relationships. These collected chapters represent something like a cross-section along each dimension.

Keywords:   contract, contract theory, legal theory, promise, morality, law and economics

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