Arthur Linton Corbin
Forthcoming, Scholars of Contract Law (James Goudkamp & Donal Nolan eds., Hart Publishing) 2021. Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 2400.
30 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2021 Last revised: 17 Sep 2021
Date Written: July 22, 2021
This chapter on Arthur Linton Corbin will appear in the forthcoming collection, Scholars of Contract Law. The chapter provides a brief summary of Corbin’s life, then discusses five topics: Corbin’s Socratic approach to the classroom and his introduction of the caselaw method at Yale; Corbin’s analytic approach, which was inspired by Hohfeld and is illustrated by Corbin’s definitions of “contract” and “consideration”; Corbin’s evolutionary theory of the common law, his understanding of the relationship between law and social mores, and his insistence that legal rules always be treated as mere “working rules”; Corbin’s occasional appeal, despite his general aversion to high theory, to the reliance theory of contract; and Corbin’s account of contract interpretation, where one sees the reliance theory at work, together with a surprisingly narrow conception of meaning.
Keywords: Corgin, Contracts, Contract Theory, Legal Realism, Hohfeld, Evolutionary Theory of Law, Interpretation
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