Center for Contract and Economic Organization
Philosophy is perfectly right in saying that life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other clause – that it must be lived forward.
Both law students and law teachers have traditionally been drawn to conceptual projects that attempt to systematize the field of contract law. The reasons for this are easy to see: the field is doctrinally complex, few beginning students have any substantial experience with the kinds of fact patterns that arise in the cases, and the law is a locus of contestation over fundamental issues of economic liberalism that go to the heart of the capitalist system. Thus, there has long been both an appetite and a market for syntheses of the field that go beyond the usual study aids and hornbooks. A generation ago, Professor Grant Gilmore's The Death of Contract, Professor Charles Fried's Contract as Promise, and, for those with greater stamina, Professor Patrick Atiyah's The Rise and Fall of Freedom of Contract addressed this intellectual need, and all three are still unquestionably worth the attention of first-year students and their teachers. But time passes, new problems arise, case law develops, and the frontiers of political contestation shift; and a new cohort of guidebooks is needed for a new cohort of lawyers.
Avery W. Katz,
Contract Theory – Who Needs It?,
U. Chi. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/605