Contract Law and Morality

4 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2007


This brief piece introduces the contract law section of a symposium on law and morality. I argue that notwithstanding the empirical turn in recent scholarship, moral reflection remains important for the study of contract law for two reasons. First, because without normative theories we cannot construct what Hart called internal interpretations of the law. In the absence of such interpretations, we are left with a basic puzzle about the purposes and coherence of the law that we already have. Second, contrary to the claims made by some empiricists, there are genuine conflicts about the merits and implications of our normative commitments. Indeed, when moral claims are stated at a level that commands universal assent, they tend to become banal.

Keywords: Contracts Jurisprudence

Suggested Citation

Oman, Nathan B., Contract Law and Morality. William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 48, 2007 , Available at SSRN:

Nathan B. Oman (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States


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