C Scott Pryor, ‘Person-Centered Pluralism for Contract Theory’

Autonomy-based theories of contract theory have moved beyond the narrowly dutiful. Welfare-centered theorists have increasingly responded to criticisms by drawing moral concerns into their analysis. Refinements to virtue-based accounts of contract law bring the values of autonomy and welfare together but even the best hovers above the person whose virtues are considered. These developments collectively demonstrate a movement toward pluralism in contact theory. In short, the inadequacy of any single approach to contract theory is apparent. Scholars working from within each approach now seek to refine their theories in light of other perspectives. Yet this increasing openness to multiple perspectives has omitted sustained consideration of the center of contracts: the human person.

This article draws on the work of sociologist Christian Smith and others as resources by which the movement toward pluralism can be enhanced and grounded in a deep consideration of the capacities of the human person – thus, a person-centered approach. Because Smith is a sociologist, I also draw on the work of Andrew Gold to help bridge the gap between the capacities of person and state-sanctioned legal remedies. Finally, in an extended conclusion, I demonstrate how a person-centered pluralism can ground an approach to what Margaret Radin calls the ‘normative degradation’ of aspects of boilerplate in a principled way.

Pryor, C Scott, Person-Centered Pluralism for Contract Theory (September 2, 2021).

First posted 2021-09-04 14:00:19

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