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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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Personal Autonomy and Change of Mind in Promise and in Contract

Personal Autonomy and Change of Mind in Promise and in Contract

(p.96) 6 Personal Autonomy and Change of Mind in Promise and in Contract
Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law

Dori Kimel

Oxford University Press

Is it possible that, in a world without promise, people would be just as likely, or perhaps even more likely, to be autonomous? The chapter takes issue with a mainstream view in contemporary literature on promise (and, similarly, contract)—a view by which the capacity to promise enhances personal autonomy, and can thus be explained and justified by reference to its value. The challenge to the mainstream view is animated by way of noting the possible autonomy-related value of a change of mind, and takes the shape of exploring some (perceived) qualities of promises that may be thought to render that practice exceptionally hostile to a change of mind. Having set up—and ultimately largely dismissed—that challenge, the chapter concludes with some related observations concerning promise, contract, and the relationship between the two.

Keywords:   promise, personal autonomy, strict liability, change of mind, promisee, freedom of contract, consideration

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