The Circumstances of Civil Recourse
Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming
23 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2021
Date Written: January 16, 2021
What circumstances create the need for an institution that conforms to civil recourse theory? I consider polities that vary in the extent to which they instantiate justice and argue that only a moderately non-ideal polity has a need for such an institution. When a polity gets close to the ideal, the polity needs institutions of corrective justice. When the polity gets very far from the ideal, tort law is at best instrumentally justified. Somewhere in between those two extremes, a civil recourse conception has significant justificatory advantages over both corrective justice and instrumental accounts. Even under these conditions, however, it remains difficult to explain within the confines of civil recourse theory why enforcement of tort law’s primary norms should remain in the hands of the victim. I suggest a possible explanation, but it requires us to jettison the claim that the wrongs of tort law are genuine wrongs.
Keywords: Tort Law, Civil Recourse, Corrective Justice, Non-Ideal Theory
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation