Autonomy for Contract, Refined

Hanoch Dagan*, Michael Heller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In ‘The Choice Theory of Contracts’, we advance a claim about the centrality of autonomy to contract. Since publishing Choice Theory, we have engaged dozens of reviews and responses; here, we reply to Robert Stevens, Arthur Ripstein, and Brian Bix. All this rigorous debate confirms for us one core point: contract’s ultimate value must be autonomy, properly understood and refined. Autonomy is the telos of contract and its grounding principle. In Choice Theory, we stressed the (1) proactive facilitation component of autonomy, in particular, the state’s obligation regarding contract types. Here, we highlight two additional, necessary implications of autonomy for contract: (2) regard for future selves and (3) relational justice. These three aspects of autonomy shape the range, limit, and floor, respectively, for the legitimate use of contract. They provide a principled and constrained path for law reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-245
Number of pages33
JournalLaw and Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


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