Autonomy and pluralism in private law

Hanoch Dagan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter addresses the significant subsets of private law-notably, but not only, property and contract-which contribute to people’s autonomy. It argues that private law is guided by an autonomy-enhancing telos. Indeed, private law, at its core, facilitates people’s self-determination and forms the foundation of a social life premised on the maxim of reciprocal respect for self-determination. Private law can enhance people’s autonomy because its fabric is not only made of duty-imposing doctrines. Rather, many of its rules-and, importantly, the two private law building blocks of property and contract-are essentially power-conferring. The normative powers instantiated by property law and by contract law allow people to have private authority over resources and to reliably benefit from others’ promises. They thus facilitate a temporally extended horizon of action, which is conducive, perhaps crucial, to people’s ability to plan. Moreover, contract and alienable property are also key for people’s mobility, which is a prerequisite for self-determination; and both expand the options available to individuals to function as the authors of their own lives. Such an autonomy-based private law must be structurally pluralist; multiplicity of property types and contract types facilitates the rich diversity of interpersonal relationships needed for adequate self-determination.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the New Private Law
EditorsAndrew S. Gold
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages177-193
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780190919665
ISBN (Print)9780190919665
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford university Press

Keywords

  • Autonomy
  • Contract law
  • Private authority
  • Private law
  • Property law
  • Self-determination
  • Structural pluralism

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