Competing Conceptions of Autonomy: A Reappraisal of the Basis of Tort Law

50 Pages Posted: 24 May 2009  

Martin A. Kotler

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: January 1, 1992

Abstract

Seeking to identify and describe the essential values underlying tort law, this Article attempts to demonstrate that tort law is a system that simultaneously seeks to promote both efficiency and individual autonomy. It argues, however, that efficiency is a secondary goal of tort law that comes to the fore when it is inexpedient, impossible or unnecessary to promote the primary value of autonomy.

The primacy of autonomy, however, is often obscured by the fact that our conception of autonomy has evolved over the years. Once understood in terms of an individual’s rights in private property, autonomy is now widely perceived in terms of the protection of one’s bodily integrity.

Keywords: torts, tort law, efficiency, autonomy

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Kotler, Martin A., Competing Conceptions of Autonomy: A Reappraisal of the Basis of Tort Law (January 1, 1992). Tulane Law Review, Vol. 67, 1992. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1407248

Martin A. Kotler (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

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