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Objectivity and Subjectivity in Contract Law: A Copernican Response to Professor Shiffrin


Jeffrey M. Lipshaw


Suffolk University Law School

August 28, 2008

Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2008
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 08-28

Abstract:     
This is a response to Seana Shiffrin's recent and important contribution to the continuing debate whether there is a universal moral or economic truth at the heart of contract law. Her most significant advance toward a general theory of promise and contract is not, however, her analysis of the divergence of morality and contract, but instead her identification of the critical moment at which the interposition of the public in a private matter occurs or is contemplated. This essay carries that theme forward, suggesting that a universal justification for contract law is not possible because the law, by its very nature, objectifies (publicly or with that implicit threat) what was heretofore a private relationship.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: contract, promise, Shiffrin, justification, public, private

JEL Classification: K10, K12

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Date posted: August 31, 2008 ; Last revised: September 26, 2008

Suggested Citation

Lipshaw, Jeffrey M., Objectivity and Subjectivity in Contract Law: A Copernican Response to Professor Shiffrin (August 28, 2008). Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2008; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 08-28. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1260364

Contact Information

Jeffrey M. Lipshaw (Contact Author)
Suffolk University Law School ( email )
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
HOME PAGE: http://ssrn.com/author=381790

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