Columbia Law Review’s Sidebar is pleased to announce the publication of a companion piece to his article, “The Correspondence of Contract and Promise” by Professor Kraus of the University of Virginia School of Law.
In his article Professor Kraus claims that contract scholars have mistakenly presumed that they can assess the correspondence between contract and promise without first providing a theory of self-imposed moral responsibility that explains and justifies the promise principle. To illustrate the dependence of correspondence accounts of contract law on a theory of self-imposed moral responsibility, Professor Kraus demonstrate how a “personal sovereignty” account of individual autonomy—one of the most familiar and intuitive theories of self-imposed moral responsibility—explains how and why, contrary to existing correspondence theories, promissory responsibility corresponds to the rights and duties recognized by contract.
In the companion piece, “Personal Sovereignty and Normative Power Skepticism,” Professor Kraus explains that according to the personal sovereignty account of promising, individuals have the normative power to undertake self-imposed moral responsibilities (i.e., moral obligations) because such a power enhances personal sovereignty. Professor Kraus then describes the skeptical argument that has been leveled against theories of promissory obligation that posit a normative power to make a promise and argues that that argument has no force against the personal sovereignty account he offers.