In Habits of the Heart, Robert Bellah found that American's lives exhibit strong strains of both individualism and communitarianism, but that their predominant language is that of individualism. American law reveals a similar pattern, both in the dominance of individualist rhetoric and in the existence of a quieter, often unnoticed, communitarian strain. Law and Community: The Case of Torts uses tort law-the law through which individuals recover from those who have injured them-as a window through which to explore the relationship between law and community. Tort rules are frequently American society's method of sorting out the rights and responsibilities of individuals, and the authors find that tort law exhibits communitarian strains even as it attempts to protect individuals from harm. Robert F. Cochran Jr. and Robert M. Ackerman eloquently argue that we should balance our concern for individual rights with the need to preserve those institutions-such as families, religious congregations, and governments-that help build the social capital that keeps society together.
Robert F. Cochran, Jr., is the Louis D. Brandeis Professor and director of the Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics at the Pepperdine University School of Law. He is the author of over 35 articles and books, including Cases and Materials on the Legal Profession, Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought, and Lawyers, Clients, and Moral Responsibility. Robert M. Ackerman is professor of law and director of the Center for Dispute Resolution at Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law. He has also served as the dean of Willamette University College of Law and has written extensively in the fields of torts, dispute resolution, trial practice, and professional responsibility.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Intermediate Communities, For Good and Ill Chapter 3 Tort Law and Intermediate Communities - An Overview Chapter 4 An Intermediate Communitarian Perspective on Tort Law Chapter 5 Torts and Families Chapter 6 Religious Congregations Chapter 7 Torts and the Larger Community: The Limits of Legal Obligation Chapter 8 Preserving the Larger Community (or, how to avoid killing the goose that laid the golden egg) Chapter 9 Damages, the Community, and 9/11 Chapter 10 Toward a Communitarian Tort System Chapter 11 Communitarian Principles and Law