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Twentieth Century Tort Theory

John C. P. Goldberg

Harvard Law School

Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 90, 2002

This article analyzes twentieth-century tort scholarship in terms of a five-sided debate between compensation-deterrence theory, enterprise liability theory, economic deterrence theory, social justice theory, and individual justice theory. It surveys, parses, and analyzes the central interpretive and prescriptive claims made by each of these theories, exploring and exposing to criticism their underlying assumptions and commitments. The article concludes with a plea for greater theoretical self-consciousness among tort scholars, and for a shift in focus away from the strict-liability v. negligence debate.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 92

Keywords: Calabresi, Coase, corrective justice, history, interpretive, negligence, Posner, pragmatism, prescriptive, private law, strict liability, theory, torts, Weinrib

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Date posted: November 15, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, John C. P., Twentieth Century Tort Theory. Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 90, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=347340 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.347340

Contact Information

John C. P. Goldberg (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
Areeda 232
1545 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2086 (Phone)

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