Between example and doctrine contract law and common morality

Journal of Religious Ethics 33 (4):669-695 (2005)
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In "Democracy and Tradition," Jeffrey Stout contends that American constitutional democracy constitutes a well-functioning moral and political tradition that is not hostile to religion, although it does not depend on any specifically religious claims. I argue that Stout's contention is supported by a consideration of the great common law subject of contracts, as taught to first-year law students across the United States. First, I demonstrate how contract law can fruitfully be understood as a Maclntyrean tradition. Second, I illustrate the moral richness of this tradition, and the mutually interpreting nature of rules and facts, by close attention to one particularly colorful case, Syester v. Banta. I conclude by suggesting that both religious and secular ethicists might find common law cases in general and contract law cases in particular to be a source of moral reflection that is substantively rich without being religiously divisive



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Citations of this work

Comments on six responses to democracy and tradition.Jeffrey Stout - 2005 - Journal of Religious Ethics 33 (4):709-744.
Common morality and moral reform.K. A. Wallace - 2009 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (1):55-68.

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References found in this work

After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Justice, Gender and the Family.Susan Moller Okin - 1989 - Hypatia 8 (1):209-214.

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