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Foundational Principles of Contract Law$
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Melvin A. Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199731404.001.0001

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The Transformation of Contract Law from Classical to Modern

The Transformation of Contract Law from Classical to Modern

Chapter:
(p.25) Four The Transformation of Contract Law from Classical to Modern
Source:
Foundational Principles of Contract Law
Author(s):

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199731404.003.0004

From the middle of the nineteenth century until the first part of the twentieth century contract law was dominated by a school of thought now known as classical contract law. Over the last seventy or eighty years contract law has been transformed from classical to modern. One area of transformation concerns the nature of contract-law reasoning. Reasoning in classical contract law was formal: social propositions played little or no role. In contrast, the objective of modern contract law is to craft rules that are justified by social propositions or, to put it differently, are normatively desirable. The transformation from classical to modern contract law can also be observed through examination of four spectra along which contract-law doctrines can be ranged: from objectivity to subjectivity, from standardization to individualization, from the static to the dynamic, and from binary to multifaceted rules.

Keywords:   classical contract law, modern contract law, contract-law transformation, objectivity, subjectivity, standardization, individuation, binary rules, multifaceted rules

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