Causation in Tort Law: A Reconsideration
Forthcoming in Research Handbook on the Economics of Torts (Jennifer Arlen, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013)
Causation is a source of confusion in tort theory, as well as a flash point between consequentialist and deontological legal theorists. Consequentialists argue that causation is generally determined by the policy grounds for negligence, not by a technical analysis of the facts. Conversely, deontologists reject the view that policy motives determine causation findings. Causation has also generated different approaches within the consequentialist school. In this chapter I try to bring some order to the arguments on causation by isolating key elements of the cases and introducing a “causation tree” that highlights the role of information. A better model of causation may help to resolve the arguments between different schools of tort theory, and to reconcile conflicting models within the consequentialist school.
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Contact InformationKeith N. Hylton
William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Boston University
Professor of Law
Boston University School of Law