Chapter

Philosophical Foundations of Fault in Tort Law

DAVID G. OWEN

in The Philosophical Foundations of Tort Law

Published in print July 1997 | ISBN: 9780198265795
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198265795.003.0010
Philosophical Foundations of Fault in Tort Law

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In this chapter, the inquiry into the nature of fault in tort law involves an examination of the philosophical foundations of choice, action, and harmful conduct. First to be explored are the broad ideals that give moral character to a person’s actions: freedom, equality, and community or common good. Freedom (or autonomy), equality (in a ‘weak’ form), and community (in the ‘hard’ form of utility) are seen collectively to shape significantly the moral quality of human behavior. After these fundamental values are examined generally, their relative priority is next considered, followed by a discussion of the nature and ordering of the basic interests at stake in tort law. Finally, the chapter focuses briefly on the more specific questions of how the underlying values help define the wrongfulness, first, of intentionally harmful conduct; and second, of conduct that accidentally causes harm.

Keywords: fault; tort law; choice; action; harmful conduct; freedom; equality; community; common good; wrongfulness

Chapter.  15294 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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