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From Personal Life to Private Law$
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John Gardner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198818755

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198818755.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 May 2021

That’s the Story of My Life

That’s the Story of My Life

(p.58) 2 That’s the Story of My Life
From Personal Life to Private Law

John Gardner

Oxford University Press

This chapter shifts attention from the wrong to the loss that is suffered by the person who is wronged. It considers the basis on which such losses can intelligibly be attributed to the wrongdoer. The chapter argues that the problem goes right to the heart of the theory of human action. There cannot be human action at all—or even a decision to act—if there cannot be human action that is partly constituted by the way it turns out. There is no reason to decide, never mind a reason to attempt, if there is no reason to achieve, succeed, bring about what one decided, and so on. An explanation of action, in short, depends on an explanation of the possibility of causal responsibility. The problem faced by private law, then, is not so much the problem of explaining how losses matter, as much as the problem of explaining where we should stop.

Keywords:   loss, wrongdoing, theory of human action, human action, private law, causal responsibility

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