Philosophy of Tort Law

Arthur Ripstein

in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270972
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Philosophy of Tort Law

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  • Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law
  • Tort Law



This article explains the way tort law brings the fundamental questions together. It supposes that the question of how people treat each other and the question of whose problem it is when things go wrong are at bottom the same question. The main task in doing so is to explain the sense in which tort law predicates liability on responsibility. Tort law articulates norms of conduct and resolves conflicts in the context of disputes between private parties. This article begins with the two basic normative principles that tort law incorporates. The relevant notion of responsibility depends on norms of conduct, and much of the article is taken up with developing that notion and explaining why it has features that are strikingly different from other familiar conceptions. It focuses largely on responsibility in negligence, both in terms of a general structure and particular doctrines.

Keywords: tort law; normative principles; liability; responsibility in negligence; doctrines

Article.  17521 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law ; Tort Law

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