Against Private Law Escapism: Comment on Arthur Ripstein, Private Wrongs

17 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2016 Last revised: 2 Jul 2016

See all articles by Hanoch Dagan

Hanoch Dagan

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law

Avihay Dorfman

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2016

Abstract

Can a comprehensive theory of tort law evade the ultimate test of our moral intuitions (or reflective equilibrium)? We shall argue, first, that Ripstein’s illuminating Private Wrongs, including in particular his organizing distinctions between misfeasance and nonfeasance, between relation and comparison, and between horizontal and vertical justice, cannot escape that test; and, second, that his theory fails to meet such a test.

The Comment proceeds in four stages. We first lay out the basic structure of Ripstein’s theory of the justice of tort law and the nature of the argument he deploys in developing this theory (Part I). We then suggest that, and explain why, his effort to derive the content of the justice of tort law by taking legal doctrine at face value must fail (Part II). The next two stages of the argument consider an alternative reading of Private Wrongs (Part III) and a broader assessment of the justice of tort law against the background of public law (Part IV).

Suggested Citation

Dagan, Hanoch and Dorfman, Avihay, Against Private Law Escapism: Comment on Arthur Ripstein, Private Wrongs (July 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2769790 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2769790

Hanoch Dagan (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv 69978, IL
Israel
+972 3 640 7302 (Phone)

Avihay Dorfman

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv 69978, IL
Israel

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