Abstract and Keywords
This article identifies a set of methodological commitments that help to explain the methodological differences between autonomy (deontic) and economic contract theories that have opposing views about the nature of law and legal theory. It begins with the discussion of the four methodological issues that divide contemporary autonomy and economic theories of contract. The dispute over the relative priority of the normative and explanatory enterprises of contract theory may simply reflect the different theoretical goals of deontic and economic theorists. These intellectual origins may explain not only the different priorities of deontic and economic contract theories, but their different conceptions of legal explanation and justification as well. The article presents the contract theories of Charles Fried and Peter Benson, which discuss the essential and representative features of each theory in order to identify their underlying methodological commitments.
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