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Beloff Institute Seminar Series - Autonomy in the Law of Contract

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Seminar Room 2/3 - The Vinson Building - The University of Buckingham

Hunter Street

Buckingham

MK18 1EG

United Kingdom

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Max Beloff Institute Seminar Series 2019/20 : Autonomy in the Law of Contract

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Autonomy in the Law of Contract and Hayek’s Critique of Economics

David Campbell, University of Lancaster

Discussant: Paul Lewis, King's College London

Advanced theoretical justifications of the legal doctrine of ‘freedom of contract’ have turned on the autonomy of the contracting party. The strength of this justification is, however, always undermined by actual study of the law, the general purpose of which seems precisely to be to place constraints on the way a contracting party may exercise its freedom of choice. The confusion arises because the Kantian argument for autonomy is only partially applied. Kant not only distinguished autonomy from the heteronomy of mere pursuit of desire, but showed that moral autonomy intrinsically requires respect for others. In this paper, parallels will be drawn with Hayek’s critique of general equilibrium analysis as stopping just short of where economics (to use this word) should start: with the study of competition as the social coordination of individual plans that makes complex production possible. It is hoped that these parallels will cast some light on the ethical stance of the individual economic actor which may add to Hayek’s concept of competition.

David Campbell currently is a Professor of Law in the Lancaster University School of Law. He has taught at a number of British universities and in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the USA. He has written on a wide range of legal and social scientific issues in leading UK, Commonwealth and US journals. He is one of the leading contributors to the formulation of ‘the relational theory of contract’. Among hi principal books on this theory are Changing Conceptions of Contract (with L Mulcahy and S Wheeler, eds, 2013); The Implicit Dimensions of Contract (with H Collins and J Wightman, eds, 2003), and an edited collection of the works of Ian Macneil: IR Macneil, The Relational Theory of Contract (ed D Campbell, 2001).

Paul Lewis is a Professor of Political Economy at King’s College London and an affiliated fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research covers a wide range of issues in both theoretical and applied political economy, including the political economy of vocational education and training; the Austrian school of economics; the history of economic thought; social ontology; and the methodology of economics.

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Seminar Room 2/3 - The Vinson Building - The University of Buckingham

Hunter Street

Buckingham

MK18 1EG

United Kingdom

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