Method and Morality in the New Private Law of Torts
Rutgers Law School; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law - Camden
June 1, 2012
125 Harvard Law Review Forum 189 (2012)
The just-christened New Private Law is especially intriguing, for it self-consciously aspires to draw insight from both instrumentalism and formalism. In his ambitious and illuminating "Palsgraf, Punitive Damages, and Preemption," for example, Benjamin Zipursky could not be any more forthright in combining instrumentalist and formalist themes. On his view, the New Private Law’s methodology is sensitive to both the functions and the concepts internal to law. Thus the New Private Law promises to be the elusive third way. And in Zipursky’s hands, it seems to me, the New Private Law of Torts makes good on that promise, offering a sound approach to the adjudication of vexing questions at the frontier of tort law. But Zipursky nevertheless falters in eschewing consideration of the approach’s moral foundations. In addition to explicating just what a commitment to the New Private Law of Torts comes to, then, it is the aim of this essay to assess where normative and specifically moral considerations do, should, and must come into play in the New Private Law of Torts.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: torts, tort theory, private law, formalism, instrumentalism, duty, legal philosophy, moral philosophy, morality
Date posted: June 1, 2012