David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Law and Philosophy 4 (3):311 - 342 (1985)
A continuing issue of contract law is what purported contracts should be legally enforced. This article considers what principles rational persons would want courts to use in enforcing commitments in a society in which they expected to live. By reviewing the promise, economic value, and reasonable expectations approaches, the principles of freedom of transfer, enforceable commitments, and collective good are developed. Then, less general principles of consideration, past benefits, reliance, gratuitous commitments, and contract modification are presented. These latter principles specify the more general principle of legally enforceable commitments. The resulting set of principles provide the basic outlines of legally enforceable commitments that would be acceptable to rational persons living in a contemporary, industrialized Western common-law society.
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