Civil Recourse Revisited

33 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2012 Last revised: 20 Oct 2012

See all articles by John C. P. Goldberg

John C. P. Goldberg

Harvard Law School

Benjamin C. Zipursky

Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: 2011


This essay responds to the extensive and thoughtful commentary on civil recourse theory provided by Curtis Bridgeman, Julian and Stephen Darwall, John Gardner, Andrew Gold, Scott Hershovitz, Gabe Mendlow, Nathan Oman, Arthur Ripstein, Anthony Sebok, Emily Sherwin, Jason Solomon, and Ernest Weinrib, all of whom participated in a 2011 symposium at Florida State University School of Law that was devoted to the subject. In it, we defend civil recourse theory against corrective justice theory and (following our own, independent contributions to the symposium) further develop our critiques of that theory. Against methodological criticisms, we maintain that civil recourse theory is an interpretive theory that has both explanatory and normative power. Finally, we briefly tease out some of the implications of civil recourse theory for private law beyond torts (contract law, in particular), and for the philosophical analysis of concepts such as accountability and responsibility.

Keywords: Civil Recourse, Contracts, Corrective Justice, Interpretation, Recourse, Redress, Torts, Tort Law, Vengeance, Wrongs

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, John C. P. and Zipursky, Benjamin C., Civil Recourse Revisited (2011). Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 39, p. 341, 2011, Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2076340, Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 12-23, Available at SSRN:

John C. P. Goldberg (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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617-496-2086 (Phone)

Benjamin C. Zipursky

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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