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A Particle of Freedom: Natural Law Thought and the Kantian Theory of Transfer by Contract

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 July 2015

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Modern contract law theorists frequently invoke Kantian ideas to conceptualize contract as a form of immediate transfer. The Kantian theory of contract itself is eclectic: Kant makes use of the main conceptual building blocks of Natural Law (in particular Grotian) contract doctrine – promise and transfer. Yet Kant re-arranges and adapts them to his own epistemology and conceptual system. I submit that because of this connection, additional light can be shed on Kant’s theory of contract by placing it in the context of contemporary Natural Law discourse. One of the most outspoken critics of contract theory in the Grotian tradition was then famous (and now apocryphal) legal philosopher Theodor Schmalz. Schmalz faulted Natural Law thought for conceptualizing contract as transfer by fallaciously – “subreptively”– explaining the normative event of creating an obligation through the model of the empirical transfer of physical objects. Kant’s theory reads like a response to this critique: Kant avoids modelling contract on the transfer of property. Rather, he explains any transfer as contractual, brought about by a unified will.

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Copyright © Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 2012

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I am particularly indebted to Peter Benson and Ernest Weinrib, who kindly provided me with detailed comments on an earlier draft. I also wish to thank Lisa Austin, Andrew Botterell, Richard Bronaugh, Dennis Klimchuk, Jason Neyers, Alexander Ostroff, Martin Schermaier, Stephen Smith, Lionel Smith, Stefan Vogenauer and Reinhard Zimmermann. An earlier version of this article was presented at the Canadian Private Law Theory Workshop in March 2011. I am grateful to all participants of the workshop for their helpful comments. Research for this paper has been supported by a grant of the Fonds de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture Québec (FQRSC). Translations of Kant's Doctrine of Right are from Mary Gregor: Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals, translated and ed by Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)–my modifications are indicated. All other translations are mine unless otherwise indicated.

1. Fuller, Lon L & Perdue, William R Jr, “The Reliance Interest in Contract Damages: 1” (1936) 46:1 Yale LJ 52 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Fuller, Lon L & Perdue, William R Jr, “The Reliance Interest in Contract Damages: 2” (1937) 46:3 Yale LJ 373 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2. Benson, Peter, “Contract as a Transfer of Ownership” (2007) 48:5 Wm & Mary L Rev 1673, 1693ffGoogle Scholar [Contract as Transfer]; Benson, Peter, “The Unity of Contract Law” in Benson, Peter, ed, The Theory of Contract Law: New Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001) 118, 127ffCrossRefGoogle Scholar [Unity of Contract Law]; Benson, Peter, “The Idea of a Public Basis of Justification for Contract” (1995) 33:2 Osgoode Hall LJ 273, 319ffGoogle Scholar; Gold, Andrew S, “A Property Theory of Contract” (2009) 103:1 Nw U L Rev 1, 2f, 30, 39Google Scholar; Weinrib, Ernest J, “Punishment and Disgorgement as Contract Remedies” (2003) 78:1 Chicago-Kent L Rev 55, 65ffGoogle Scholar [Contract Remedies]. Stephen Smith renders a concise critical overview of transfer theories: Smith, Stephen A, Contract Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) at 97 Google Scholarff [Contract Theory].

3. Benson, Contract as Transfer, supra note 2 at 1673 et passim; Benson, Unity of Contract Law, supra note 2 at 128 n 17.

4. Kant’s Doctrine of Right met with disappointed reactions upon its appearance and was long neglected in philosophy and jurisprudence. In 1970, Arendt, Hannah (Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy, Beiner, Ronald, ed (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1992) at 7 Google Scholarf) still deemed Kant’s Doctrine of Right unworthy of attention: “As far as the Doctrine of Right (or of Law) is concerned—which (…), if you read it, you will probably find rather boring and pedantic—it is difficult not to agree with Schopenhauer, who said about it: ‘It is as if it were not the work of this great man, but the product of an ordinary common man.’ The concept of law is of great importance in Kant’s practical philosophy (…); but if we want to study the philosophy of law in general, we certainly shall not turn to Kant but to Pufendorf or Grotius or Montesquieu.” This attitude changed through the 1970s, and the renewed interest expressed itself in an increased production of scholarly texts on the Doctrine of Right since the 1980s (see, for an overview, Fletcher, George P, “Why Kant” (1987) 87:3 Colum L Rev 421)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Important monographs that stand witness to the continuity of this renaissance are, for example, Weinrib, Ernest J, The Idea of Private Law (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995)Google Scholar [Idea of Private Law], the second edition of Kersting, Wolfgang, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit: Immanuel Kants Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie, 2nd ed (Paderborn: Mentis, 2007) [Wohlgeordnete Freiheit]Google Scholar; Ripstein, Arthur, Force and Freedom: Kant’s Legal and Political Philosophy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar[Force and Freedom] and Sharon Byrd, B & Hruschka, Joachim, Kant’s Doctrine of Right: A Commentary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar [Commentary]. Another major accomplishment that has to be mentioned in this context is Mary Gregor’s modern translation: Kant, Immanuel, The Metaphysics of Morals, translated and ed by Gregor, Mary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

5. Weinrib, Ernest J, “Law as a Kantian Idea of Reason” (1987) 87:3 Colum L Rev 472 [Idea of Reason] at 472CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6. This is, of course, the approach of a legal historian, as opposed to that of a legal philosopher who may, and with good reason, intentionally de-contextualize. Cf Ripstein, Force and Freedom, supra note 4 at x: “My focus on Kant’s central preoccupations and attempt to engage with more recent ideas will seem to some to take Kant outside of his historical context. I make no apology for doing so.”

7. Cf Benson, Unity of Contract Law, supra note 2 at 128 n 17; Kersting, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 232.

8. Radbruch, Gustav, Rechtsphilosophie, Studienausgabe, Dreier, Ralf & Paulson, Stanley L, eds (Heidelberg: C F Müller, 1999) 21 Google Scholar.

9. Warnkönig, Leopold A, Rechtsphilosophie als Naturlehre des Rechts (Freiburg i.Br.: Druck und Verlag der Fr. Wagnerschen Buchhandlung, 1839) at 144 Google Scholar: “49. Bei weitem die meisten der hier aufgeführten Systeme des Naturrechts oder der philosophischen Rechtslehre wurzeln auf dem Boden der kantischen Philosophie“.

10. On Kant’s “formative years” as a teacher of Natural Law, see Ritter, Christian, Der Rechtsgedanke Kants nach den frühen Quellen (Frankfurt a.M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 1971) at 25 Google Scholarff; 68ff; Busch, Werner, Die Entstehung der kritischen Rechtsphilosophie Kants 1762-1780 (Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1979) at 43 CrossRefGoogle Scholarff et passim.

11. On Achenwall and Kant’s use of Achenwall’s work see, in particular, Byrd & Hruschka, Commentary, supra note 4 at 15-19.

12. Rückert, Joachim, “Kant-Rezeption in juristischer und politischer Theorie (Naturrecht, Rechtsphilosophie, Staatslehre, Politik) des 19. Jahrhunderts” in Thompson, Martyn P, ed, John Locke and Immanuel Kant: Historical Reception and Contemporary Relevance (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1991) 144 at 149fGoogle Scholar.

13. Kant, Immanuel, “Recension von Gottlieb Hufeland’s Versuch über den Grundsatz des Naturrechts” in Kant’s Gesammelte Schriften, herausgegeben von der Königlich Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin: Reimer, 1900ff) [Akademie-Ausgabe], vol 8 127 at 129Google Scholar [Recension].

14. See again supra note 6.

15. See the detailed biography by Kraus, Hans-Christof, Theodor Anton Heinrich Schmalz (1760-1831): Jurisprudenz, Universitätspolitik und Publizistik im Spannungsfeld von Revolution und Restauration, Ius Commune Sonderhefte (Frankfurt a.M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 1999).Google Scholar

16. See Rückert, supra note 12 at 157.

17. Schmalz, Theodor, Das Reine Naturrecht (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1792) at 63 Google Scholarf, § 96; 66f, § 104 [Reines Naturrecht].

18. Kersting, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 239f, n 117.

19. Lübbe-Wolff, Gertrude, “Begründungsmethoden in Kants Rechtslehre untersucht am Beispiel der Vertragslehre” in Brandt, Reinhard, ed, Rechtsphilosophie der Aufklärung, Symposium Wolfenbüttel 1981 (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 1982) 286 at 294Google Scholar; Kersting (Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 239f, n 117) mentions Schmalz (and Fichte) in a footnote. He does not explicate Schmalz’s theory in detail but provides his readers with a long quote from Schmalz’s work Das Reine Naturrecht.

20. See the detailed and learned account rendered by Birken-Bertsch, Hanno, Subreption and Dialektik bei Kant: Der Fehler der Erschleichung in der Philosophie des 18. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 2006) at 2765 Google Scholar et passim.

21. See Sng, Zachary, The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010) at 79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

22. Henke, ELT, Jakob Friedrich Fries, Aus seinem Nachlasse dargestellt (Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1867) 293 at 294Google Scholar: “Als Hufeland und Schmalz ihre Bücher geschrieben hatten, für die sich alle Welt interessirte, ging es mir gar übel: ich konnte durchaus nicht in dieses Interesse hineinkommen. Nicht daß ich die Antworten für unrichtig hielt, die diese Bücher gaben—ich konnte gar nicht finden, daß sie gefragt hätten.”

23. See, in particular, Kraus, supra note 15 passim.

24. See supra note 17.

25. Schmalz, Theodor, Das natürliche Staatsrecht (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 17942nd ed 1805)Google Scholar.

26. Schmalz, Theodor, Das natürliche Familienrecht (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1795).Google Scholar

27. Schmalz, Theodor, Das natürliche Kirchenrecht (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1795).Google Scholar

28. Schmalz, Theodor, Annalen der Rechte des Menschen, des Bürgers und der Völker (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1794)Google Scholar; Erklärung der Rechte des Menschen und des Bürgers (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1798).

29. Schmalz, Theodor, Handbuch der Rechtsphilosophie (Halle: Renger, 1807)Google Scholar [Rechtsphilosophie]; see also his later work Die Wissenschaft des natürlichen Rechts (Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1831).

30. Schmalz, Theodor, Encyclopädie des gemeinen Rechts. Zum Gebrauch akademischer Vorlesungen, 2nd ed (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1804)Google Scholar; 3rd ed: Encyclopaedia juris per Europam communis, in usum auditorii adumbrata (Königsberg: Nicolovius, 1827).

31. Kraus, supra note 15 at 195f.

32. Ibid at 189ff.

33. Ibid at 246.

34. Hofmann, Franz, Die Entstehungsgründe der Obligationen, insbesondere der Vertrag, mit Rücksicht auf Siegel’s “Das Versprechen als Verpfichtungsgrund” (Vienna: Verlag der G.A. Manz’schen Buchhandlung, 1874) at 109 Google Scholarf: “Da zu dieser wirklichen Anfechtbarkeit [sc.: Hofmann believed that Schmalz did not properly understand the distinction between expectancy and reliance interest] hinzutrat, daß die Negation des Gemeinplatzes ‘pacta sunt servanda’ das sittliche Gefühl verletzen scheint, und daß der Urheber dieser bedenklichen Lehre später den Anspruch auf öffentliche Achtung verwirkte,—so ist nicht zu wundern, daß diese Theorie öfter getadelt als in ihrem tieferen Grunde erfaßt worden ist.

35. Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, Beitrag zur Berichtigung der Urteile des Publikums über die französische Revolution (Danzig: Verlag Ferdinand Troschel, 1793) at 119 Google Scholar: “‘Ich habe nach dem Naturrechte kein vollkommenes Recht auf die Wahrhaftigkeit des andern. Tut er mir ein lügenhaftes Versprechen, so kann ich nicht eher über Verletzung klagen, bis ich durch dasselbe zu einer Leistung verleitet bin’ sagt der scharfsinnigste und konsequenteste Lehrer des Naturrechts, den wir bis jetzt haben.

36. Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1979) § 79 at 162fGoogle Scholar.

37. See, e.g., Atiyah, Patrick S, Promises, Morals and Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981) at 36 Google Scholarff.

38. Schmalz, Reines Naturrecht, supra note 17 at § 108. “Wenn aber durch Abgehen des einen vom Vertrage der andre einen Schaden leidet: so ist der erste zum Ersatz desselben verbunden. Denn der Leidende hatte ein Recht, dem Worte des andern zu glauben, und im Zutrauen auf ihn Anstalten zu treffen. Jede Handlung aber, wodurch einem andern ein Schaden entsteht, berechtigt diesen, Ersatz fordern.”

39. Schmalz, Rechtsphilosophie, supra note 29 at 156: “Mehr als bey irgend einer naturrechtlichen Untersuchung hat man bey der über die verbindliche Kraft der Verträge vernachlässigt, sich die Schwierigkeiten deutlich zu denken, welche ihr entgegenstehen. Man wollte dieß heilige Band der Menschheit so schnell wie möglich befestigen; der erste Grund oder Scheingrund wurde willig ergriffen.

40. Schmalz, Reines Naturrecht, supra note 17 at 63f, § 96: “Man hat immer die Annehmung eines Versprechens mit der Annahme einer Sache verwechselt. Die letztere geschieht durch Occupation, die erstere ist eine blosse Willenserklärung. Diese Verwechslung hat den Nachteil gehabt, dass man, weil die letztere etwas geradezu an unser Urrecht knüpft, auch glaubte, die erstere thue dies auch. Daher wurde die Verbindlichkeit der Verträge im Naturrecht erschlichen, da man doch erst hätte zeigen sollen, wie die Annehmung des Versprechens den Gegenstand desselben in unser Recht übertrüge. Statt dessen nahm man geradehin als Axiom an: durch Annehmung werde das Versprechen mein; und die Täuschung war um so leichter, da die Moral und das positive Recht sie unterstützten.

41. Lübbe-Wolff, supra note 19 at 294, insinuates that Schmalz had simply not evolved beyond the theory of the older ius commune, which still adhered to the Roman approach that only nominal contracts are enforceable. This underestimates the complexity of Schmalz’s ideas, and their abstractness from positive law.

42. Christian Thomasius, Fundamenta iuris naturae et gentium ex sensu communi deducta, in qui-bus ubique secernuntur principia honesti, justi ac decori, cum adjuncta emendatione ad ista fundamenta institutionum jurisprudentiae divinae. Editio quarta (Halae & Lipsiae, typis & sumtibus Christophori Salfeldii, 1718) lib. I, cap. V, § 17: “Ergo jus omne externum est, non internum. Ergo eadem dicenda sunt de obligatione juri respondente, i.e. externa“ [Fundamenta].

43. Nicolai Hieronymus Gundling, Ius Naturae ac Gentium connexa ratione novaque methodo elaboratum et a praesumtis opinionibus aliisque ineptiis vacuum. Editio nova auctior & eman-datior (Genevae, sumptibus Antonii Philibert, 1731) cap. I, § 63.

44. Immanuel Kant, Die Metaphysik der Sitten. Erster Theil. Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Rechtslehre in Akademie-Ausgabe, supra note 13, vol 6 at 231, § D: “Right is Connected to an Authorization to Use Coercion” [MdS]; see also Hoffmann1, Thomas S, “Kant und das Naturrechtsdenken” (2001) 87 Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 449 Google Scholar.

45. See Fried, Charles, Contract as Promise: A Theory of Contractual Obligation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981) 14 Google Scholarff; see also Shiffrin, Seana V, “The Divergence of Contract and Promise” (2007) 120:3 Harv L Rev 708 Google Scholar.

46. Schmalz, Reines Naturrecht, supra note 17 at 33, § 43: a lie is a violation of an internal, not of an external, duty—there is no legal right to veracity.

47. Birken-Bertsch, supra note 20 at 32f.

48. See Sng, supra note 21 at 79.

49. Birken-Bertsch, supra note 20 at 69ff. Birken-Bertsch’s book seems to be the only existing monograph on the topic.

50. Carson, Emily, “Metaphysics, Mathematics and the Distinction Between the Sensible and the Intelligible in Kant’s Inaugural Dissertation” (2004) 42:2 J History of Phil 165 at 185CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Birken-Bertsch, supra note 20 at 80f.

51. Birken-Bertsch, ibid at 125.

52. Schmalz, Reines Naturrecht, supra note 17 at 41, § 61.

53. See, e.g., for an unfattering assessment of Schmalz’s theoretical grasp of Kantian philosophy Adickes, Erich, German Kantian Bibliography, vol 1 (New York: Ayer, 1967) at 134 Google Scholar, § 824.

54. For an overview, see Hofmann, supra note 34 at 90ff.

55. Diesselhorst, Malte, Die Lehre des Hugo Grotius vom Versprechen (Cologne: Böhlau, 1959) 34 Google Scholarff; Benson, Peter, “Grotius’ Contribution to the Natural Law of Contract” (1985) 6:2 Can J Netherlandic Studies 1 Google Scholar.

56. Diesselhorst, ibid at 4ff; Gordley, James, The Philosophical Origins of Modern Contract Doctrine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991) 69 Google Scholarff (on the achievements of the late scholastics); 122ff (on the translatio studii); see also Decock, Wim, “Jesuit Freedom of Contract” (2009) 77:3-4 Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis 423 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, particularly at 424 n 6 for numerous further references.

57. On historical self-reflection in Natural Law scholarship see in particular Klippel, Diethelm, “Die Historisierung des Naturrechts. Rechtsphilosophie und Geschichte im 19. Jahrhundert”, in Kervégan, Jean-François & Mohnhaupt, Heinz, eds, Recht zwischen Natur und Geschichte— Le droit entre nature et histoire (Frankfurt a.M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 1997) 103 at 108ffGoogle Scholar.

58. Hufeland, Gottlieb, Versuch über den Grundsatz des Naturrechts nebst einem Anhange (Leipzig: G.J. Goeschen, 1785) at 16 Google Scholarff.

59. Kant, Recension, supra note 13 at 127.

60. Grotius, Hugo, De jure belli ac pacis libri tres (Amsterdam: Joan Blaeu, 1646)Google Scholar lib. II, cap. XI, § I [De jure belli ac pacis].

61. Austin, John L, How To Do Things with Words, 2nd ed (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975) 5 CrossRefGoogle Scholarff; Searle, John, Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969) 54 CrossRefGoogle Scholarff et passim.

62. Lessius, Leonardus, De justitia et de jure caeterisque virtutisbus cardinalibus libri quattuor, ed. secunda (Antwerp: Johannes Moretus, 1609)Google Scholar lib. 2, cap. 18 De promiss. & donat. Dubitatio V., no 31: “(…) quia promissio & donatio sunt signa quaedam practica, efficientia id ip-sam, quod significant“. On the astonishing congruence between this definition and modern speech act theory see Campe, Rüdiger, “Making it Explicit. Don Giovannis Versprechen oder eine Vorgeschichte des Sprechaktes bei Austin” in Schneider, Manfred, ed, Die Ordnung des Versprechens (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2005) 17 Google Scholar, 20f.

63. Grotius, De jure belli ac pacis, supra note 60 at lib. II, cap. XI, § I V. On the necessity of externalization of the will through signs see also ibid at lib. II, cap. I V, § III.

64. Ibid at lib. II, cap. XI, § IV: “Tertius gradus est, ubi ad determinationem talem accedit signum volendi jus proprium alteri conferre: quae perfecta promissio est, similem habens effectum qualem alienatio dominii. Est enim aut via ad alienationem rei, aut alienatio particulae cuiusdam nostrae libertatis.“ The English translation in the text is taken from Morrice’s translation: Grotius, Hugo, The Rights of War and Peace in Three Books, Morrice, J translation, vol 2 (London: D Brown, 1738) at 232.Google Scholar

65. Diesselhorst, supra note 55 at 51: “…eine eigentümliche vergegenständlichende Auffassung von der Freiheit der Person (…): das Bild eines statischen, nach außen scharf abgegrenzten nach innen jederzeit aufteilbaren Freiheitsbereiches. Gegenwärtiges und künftiges Handeln sind damit für Grotius der souveränen Herrschaft der Person ebenso unterworfen wie Sachen, die sich in ihrem Besitze befnden. Diese Herrschaft schließt als Rechtsbefugnis zunächst den Zugriff aller anderen Personen aus.

66. Macpherson, Crawford B, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962) at 3 Google Scholar: “Its possessive quality is found in its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his own person (…) The relation of ownership (…) was read back into the nature of the individual.”

67. Decock, supra note 56 at 435ff.

68. Indeed, it is part of its ancestry, which reaches back into the High Middle Ages: Tierney, Brian, “Grotius. From Medieval to Modern” in Tierney, Brian, ed, The Idea of Natural Rights (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1997) at 316 Google Scholar [Grotius].

69. On Grotius’s exposition see Tierney, Grotius, ibid at 324ff; Tuck, Richard, Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979) at 74 CrossRefGoogle Scholarff.

70. Tierney, Grotius, ibid at 325.

71. Grotius, De jure belli ac pacis, supra note 60 at lib. I, cap. I, § III.1.

72. Ibid at lib. I, cap. I, § I V.

73. Ibid at lib. I, cap. I, § V.

74. Ibid at lib. II, cap. XVII, § II.

75. See Tierney, Brian, “Dominion of Self and Natural Rights Before Locke and After” in Mäkinen, V & Korkman, P, eds, Transformations in Medieval and Early-Modern Rights Discourse (Dordrecht: Springer, 2006) 173 at 177ffCrossRefGoogle Scholar.

76. Pufendorf, Samuel, De jure naturae et gentium libri octo, Editio Ultima (Amsterdam: Joann Wolters, 1704)Google Scholar lib. III cap. V § VII [De jure naturae]—translation from Pufendorf, Samuel, Of the Law of Nature and Nations, 4th ed, translated by Kennett, Basil (London, 1729)Google Scholar.

77. Tuck has held that the rights theory Pufendorf expounds in De jure naturae deviates signif-cantly from Pufendorf’s earlier views and, in particular, makes a radical break with Grotius’s theory of rights as expressing sovereignty over the world (see Tuck, supra note 69 at 159ff). Mautner has elegantly refuted this aspect of Tuck’s account. Given the constraints of this paper, I shall not engage with this dispute; it shall suffice to point to the textual evidence, which, I believe, speaks clearly against Tuck’s radical interpretation. See Mautner, Thomas, “Pufendorf and the Correlativity Theory of Rights”, in Haakonssen, Knud, ed, Grotius, Pufendorf and Modern Natural Law (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1999) at 37 Google Scholar, 44ff.

78. Pufendorf, De jure naturae, supra note 76 at lib. I, cap. 1, § IXX.

79. However, Pufendorf notices the different connotations: potestas, power, focuses more on what a person is entitled to do; ius, right, rather on whether this title was rightfully obtained. See on this distinction Kari Saastamoinen, “Liberty and Natural Rights in Pufendorf’s Natural Law Theory” in V Mäkinen & P Korkman, supra note 75, 225 at 230f.

80. Pufendorf, De jure naturae, supra note 76 at lib. I, cap. 1, § IXX.

81. Thomasius, Christian, Institutionum Jurisprudentiae Divinae Libri Tres, Editio tertio (Halae: sumptibus Christophori Salfeldii, 1702) 213 Google Scholar lib. II, cap. VII, § 8: “Promissio est vel perfecta vel imperfecta. § 9: Perfecta est declaratio voluntatis, quod alteri ita obligari velim, ut ipsi liceat rem promissam tanquam debitam a me exigere“ [Jurisprudentia Divina].

82. Gundling, supra note 43 at 106, cap. XI, § 8: “Pacisci autem signifcat convenire cum alio, vel aliis in idem placitum, ut ita ius irrevocabile transfertur vel in solidum, vel pro parte definita. § 9: Qui ius in aliquem transfert irrevocabile, aliquid de sua libertate demit, & ita obligatur.” Ibid at 118, cap. XII, § 6: “Et adfrmavimus autem, promissa plena, absoluta atque acceptata naturaliter ius transferre, etiam, si quid SINE CAUSA promissum.”

83. Höpfner, Ludwig Julius Friedrich, Naturrecht des einzelnen Menschen der Gesellschaften und der Völker, 3rd ed (Gießen: Johann Christian Krieger d.J., 1785) at 57 Google Scholar, § 64: “Ein jeder Mensch ist vollkommen verbunden, seine Verträge zu halten. Dann sobald ich einen Vertrag eingehe, so will ich, daß auf den anderen ein Recht übergehe; es ist auch moralisch möglich, daß dies geschehe. Kommt also noch die physische Möglichkeit hinzu: so will und kann ich das Recht auf den andern übertragen; es geht also wirklich auf ihn über, und das Objekt des Vertrages ist nicht mehr mein, sondern dem andern; ich entziehe folglich diesem etwas von dem Seinen, wenn ich den Vertrag nicht halte; ich beleidige ihn.”

84. Pütter, Johannes Stephan & Achenwall, Gottfried, Elementa Iuris Naturae in usum auditorum adornata (Goettingae: apud Ioh. Wilhelm Schmidt, 1750)Google Scholar lib. I, cap. II, § 363: “Omne pactum continet praestationem, ideoque translationem sui in alterum, id est alienationem. Omne suum est vel utile internum vel externum (§ 264). Illud potissimum consistit in operis, hoc in rebus, et aliis hominibus. Hinc omnis praestatio, alienatio, pactum consistit in faciendo vel dando.”

85. Byrd & Hruschka, Commentary, supra note 4 at 15-19.

86. It has been said about the transfer theory of contracts that it blurs the Roman distinction (D. 44.7.3pr.) between the effects of an obligation—alium nobis obstringere: to tie someone to us to commit a future act—and the effects of instant alienation—aliquid nostrum facere: to make something ours. See Hofmann, supra note 34 at 90.

87. “Power-right” not in the technical Hohfeldian sense, but as an attempt to translate the idea of mastery and domination expressed in the terms “potestas“ and “dominium“.

88. Pütter & Achenwall, supra note 84 lib. I, cap. II § 359.

89. Smith, Contract Theory, supra note 2 at 101.

90. Savigny, Friedrich Carl von, System des heutigen römischen Rechts, vol 1 (Berlin: Veit, 1840)CrossRefGoogle Scholar § 53 at 339; Obligationenrecht, vol 2 (Berlin: Veit, 1851) § 2 at 4: The obligee has power [Herrschaft] over the distinct action the obligor has the duty to perform.

91. Grotius, De iure belli ac pacis, supra note 60, lib. II, cap. VI, § I.1.

92. Ibid lib. II, cap. VI, § II [translation in the text from the 1738 Morrice translation, supra note 64].

93. Pütter & Achenwall, supra note 84 at tit. iv § 332.

94. Despite the fact that “promise” is associated semantically with a commitment to do or not to do something in the future, which seems to make it more suitable for the contraction of an obligation.

95. Pütter & Achenwall, supra note 84 at tit. iv § 360: “Ergo pactum iustum est modus adqui-rendi (§ 299) et quidem derivativus, hoc est quo ex alieno ft nostrum.” The phrase “hoc est quo ex alieno ft nostrum“ echoes the wording of Paul’s famous definition of obligation in Paul explains here that the essence of obligation is not that it makes something immediately ours, but that it binds for the future. Pütter & Achenwall see the most characteristic property of contract in the very definition of what obligation is not: immediate transfer from “Thine” to “Mine”.

96. Smith, Contract Theory, supra note 2 at 98.

97. Ripstein, Force and Freedom, supra note 4 at 112.

98. Cf most recently, Giglio, Francesco, “Pandectism and the Gaian Classifcation of Things” (2012) 62:1 UTLJ 1ffCrossRefGoogle Scholar.

99. See supra note 40 and accompanying text.

100. Pufendorf, De jure naturae, supra note 76 at lib. III, cap. VI, § XV—my translation.

101. See, e.g., the 1729 Kennett translation, supra note 76 at lib. III, cap. VI, § XV at 283.

102. Thomasius, Jurisprudentia Divina, supra note 81 at 213, lib. II, cap. VII: “§ 12 Ut itaque promissio ad eliciendam obligationem requiritur, quia citra eam par non potest paris inviti libertatem restringere, ita nec sine acceptatione pactum est, quia nemo invito vult rem suam obtrudere. § 13 Quod si acceptatio ne sequatur, juri promittentis in rem oblatam nihil decedit, quia paciscens rem suam non vult pro derelicto habere.”

103. Ibid at 213, lib. II, cap. VII, note “ad § 13 i) Ergo non poterit tertius eam occupare tanquam rem nullius.”

104. Ibid at 305, lib. II, cap. X, § 161 and note “ad § 161“ against the distinction made by Pufendorf in De jure naturae, supra note 76 at lib. I V, cap. IX, § VIIf.

105. This focus on the corporeality of the object underlines that if the authors refer to “res“, they do not use it in the sense of a category that also includes rights as “incorporeal things”.

106. Pareto, Vilfredo, A Treatise on General Sociology, translated by Bongiorno, Andrew & Livingston, Arthur, vol 1 (New York: Dover, 1935) at 262 Google Scholarf § 442.

107. Hufeland, supra note 58 at 277f.

108. Conrad Stang, letter to Kant, October 2, 1796, in Akademie-Ausgabe, supra note 13, vol 12, at 97, 100: “Herr Professor Schmalz stellt in seinem Naturrechte den Satz auf, daß Verträge nicht verbindlich seyen: die hinzugekommene Leistung mache sie erst verbindlich. Dieser Satz macht viel Glück bey uns: allein ich finde immer soviel vom positiven Rechte entlehntes darinne, und ich kann mich auf keine Art befriedigen. Herr Professor Schmalz macht, wie es auch sein muß, das Princip der Vernunft zum Principe des Naturrechtes. Dieses Princip gebiethet einmal ohne Ausnahme Wahrhaftigkeit; warum sollte es hernach im Naturrechte indifferent seyn?

109. Mainz, Gutenberg Museum, ed, Immanuel Kant. Ausstellung im Gutenberg-Museum Mainz, 12. März bis 10. April 1974 (Mainz, Gutenberg-Museum, 1974) 59, 60Google Scholar: “Daß aber der Satz: pacta sunt servanda, nicht blos zur Ethic, sondern auch zum Jus gehöre und, wie es möglich sey, daß durch die bloße Annahme des Versprechens das Seine eines Anderen das Meine werde, darüber werden Sie hoffentlich in meinen Metaphysischen Anfangsgründen der Rechtslehre, die ich schon vor einigen Wochen in Druck gegeben und die etwa um Weynachten herausko-men werden, Auskunft erhalten.

110. Byrd & Hruschka, Commentary, supra note 4 at 243.

111. Lübbe-Wolff, supra note 19 at 294ff.

112. If “choice” can be successfully transferred, the result is by definition an obligation (Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 248) which is “the necessity of a free action under a categorical imperative of reason” (ibid at 222). Keeping a promise is therefore a categorical imperative (not to be confused with a moral duty to keep a promise); see Unberath, Hannes, “Die Bindung an den Vertrag—Zur Bedeutung Kants für die neuere Diskussion um die Grundlagen des Privatrechts” in Byrd, B Sharon & Joerden, Jan C, eds, Philosophica Practica Universalis, Festschrift für Joachim Hruschka zum 70. Geburtstag (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2005) 719 at 729Google Scholarf; Benson, Peter, “External Freedom According to Kant” (1987) 87:3 Colum L Rev 559 at 563ffCrossRefGoogle Scholar [External Freedom].

113. See above text accompanying notes 100ff.

114. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 247.

115. Ripstein, Force and Freedom, supra note 4 at 113 [emphasis added].

116. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 274.

117. Ibid at 271.

118. Gregor, supra note 4 at 57.

119. See Dedek, Helge, “Border Control: Some Comparative Remarks on the Cartography of Obligations” in Neyers, Jason et al, eds, Exploring Contract Law (Oxford: Hart, 2009) 25 at 37Google Scholar; Markesinis, Basil S, Unberath, Hannes & Johnston, Angus, The German Law of Contract, 2nd ed (Oxford: Hart, 2006) at 27.Google Scholar

120. Kersting, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 237; Lübbe-Wolff, supra note 19 at 291.

121. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 271.

122. Byrd, B Sharon, “Kant’s Theory of Contract” (1997) 36 (Suppl) Southern J Phil 131 at 135CrossRefGoogle Scholar. She even reads Kant’s famous rebuke of Moses Mendelssohn (MdS, supra note 44 at 273) as Kant dismissing any inquiry into the question of why promises are binding as useless because he is not interested in obligational contracts (at 135). For a detailed account of Kant’s reference to Mendelssohn, see Benson, External Freedom, supra note 112 at 563ff.

123. Ibid at 132.

124. Lübbe-Wolff, supra note 19 at 293f.

125. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 271.

126. Unberath, supra note 112 at 730f n 75.

127. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 271; Gregor, supra note 4 at 57.

128. Kant, ibid at 275.

129. In § 7 (Kant, ibid at 254), however, Kant neglects the distinction between the acquisition of the promise and what is promised. Here, he seems to assume that the acceptance of a promise establishes noumenal possession of the promised thing. To resolve the apparent tension between § 7 and § 20f, one could assume that Kant refers to the contract of alienation of a thing: though ownership (dominium) does not pass before empirical delivery, one could imagine that Kant envisioned that a purely noumenal relationship of intelligible possession is generated through the agreement.

130. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 273.

131. Ibid at 273ff.

132. Kraus, supra note 15 at 330, note 34 (footnote starts at 329).

133. Vorarbeiten zu Die Metaphysik der Sitten. Erster Teil. Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Rechtslehre in Akademie-Ausgabe, supra note 13, vol 23 at 212f.

134. See Kant, Recension, supra note 13 at 127; on Kant’s familiarity with Natural Law scholarship in general see Ritter, supra note 10 at 31ff.

135. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 218ff.

136. Ibid at 231.

137. Kersting, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 235. Ripstein, Force and Freedom, supra note 4 at 20.

138. Ripstein, Force and Freedom, supra note 4 at 30ff.

139. Kant, MdS, supra note 45 at 270.

140. Ibid at 247ff.

141. Kersting, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 231.

142. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 248; translation from Gregor, supra note 4 at 38.

143. Kant, ibid.

144. See also above text accompanying notes 128ff.

145. See supra note 89.

146. For example, a contract that commits the promisor to slavery; this inalienable core is “extra commercium“. See Ripstein, Force and Freedom, supra note 4 at 136f.

147. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 217.

148. Ibid at 258.

149. Ibid at 216.

150. Ibid at 273.

151. Gottfried Feyerabend, Kants Naturrecht gelesen im Winterhalben Jahre 1784, in AkademieAusgabe, supra note 13, vol 27.2,2 at 1350f.

152. Ibid at 1348.

153. Kersting, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 238.

154. See above text accompanying notes 97ff.

155. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 247.

156. Ibid at 245.

157. Ibid at 271.

158. Ibid at 273f.

159. See Byrd & Hruschka, Commentary, supra note 4 at 234.

160. Ripstein, Force and Freedom, supra note 4 at 112.

161. Ibid at 113.

162. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 274.

163. Kersting, Wohlgeordnete Freiheit, supra note 4 at 238.

164. Lübbe-Wolff, supra note 19 at 302 points out that this question was not of major concern to the contemporary discourse.

165. Kant, MdS, supra note 44 at 247.

166. See Benson, External Freedom, supra note 112 at 363ff.

167. See Weinrib, Idea of Reason, supra note 5 at 474ff.

168. See Schmalz, Rechtsphilosophie, supra note 29 at 161: “Kant selbst hat nicht nur gar keine Deduction der verbindenden Kraft der Veträge gegeben, sondern sogar gesagt, es lasse sich nicht der eigentliche Zeitpunkt angeben, in welchem diese Kraft anfange. Aber es ist klar, daß Kant damit (ganz gewiß gegen seine Absicht, wie ich wohl erkenne) alle Verträge aus der Rechtslehre verbannt hat. Denn die Rechtslehre will ja nichts, als die Regel des Rechts im Aeußeren darstellen, mithin in Zeit und Raum. Es muß also für jedes juridische Rechte einen genauen Zeitpunkt geben in welchem es anfängt oder aufhört“.

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