Right and Advantage in Private Law
14 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2008
Date Written: January 1, 1989
Although the model of rights underlies much of private law, the model of advantages dominates most of contemporary legal scholarship. Private law is currently regarded as a system of economic incentives that maximize the value of advantageous occurrences and minimize the cost of disadvantageous ones. The disjunction between the law and the academic effort to understand it suggests one, respect in which Hegel's legal philosophy continues to address current concerns. The treatment of abstract right at the beginning of Hegel's Philosophy of Right is the purest and most uncompromising account of private law from the perspective of right. In this Essay, I wish to illustrate how contemporary scholars - even those who claim to be rights theorists - mistake the significance of private law because they ignore Hegel's abstract right.
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