The Sacred and Profane Contracts Machine: The Complex Morality of Contract Law in Action
24 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2011 Last revised: 11 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 10, 2012
This article begins to articulate a theory that a central moral concern in contract law in action is flexibility to recognize the need for adjustment, release, and forgiveness among good faith parties, most obviously in relational contexts. The article explores some telling examples, from the morality of the businessmen Stewart Macaulay wrote about in Non-Contractual Relations in Business to that of the characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s satiric novel “The Minister’s Wooing,” which puts the need for promissory forgiveness at the center of the dramatic action. Also examined in this article are the animating moral concerns of the law in action school of thought itself. The overall aim is to promote inquiry by contracts scholars into the moral concerns of contracting parties, particularly concerning the question whether a forgiveness principle may be as important as a principle of promise-keeping.
Keywords: contracts, law in action, morality, forgiveness, relational
JEL Classification: K12, K2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation