Dr. Sasha Volokh on Taking Stock of Tort Law
Radio Interview: 7 November 2012
I interviewed Dr. Sasha Volokh on "Taking Stock of Tort Law" on 7 November 2012. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
What is tort law? What are its basic principles? What are some of the most interesting debates in tort law? Do some torts conflict with freedom of speech? What, if any, proposals for tort reform are worthy of support? In this interview, law professor Sasha Volokh discussed the nature, value, and limitations of tort law.
Alexander "Sasha" Volokh is an assistant professor of law at Emory Law School. He was born in Kiev and emigrated from the Soviet Union with his family in 1975. He graduated from UCLA with degrees in mathematics/economics and English/world literature and from Harvard with a J.D. (law) and a Ph.D. in economics. He clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit and for Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Samuel Alito. He has also worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in D.C. and at the Reason Public Policy Institute. He teaches Torts, Administrative Law, Law and Economics, Privatization, and other courses.
- Duration: 1:08:11
- Download: MP3 File (15.6 MB)
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- What tort law is, compared with criminal, contract, and property law
- Intentional versus accidental torts
- Crimes and torts
- The negligence standard versus strict liability in torts
- Standards for torts in American history
- Good Samaritan laws and torts: affirmative duties
- Special cases of duties to rescue
- Free speech and torts: defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Proposals for tort reform
- Torts and legal precedents in property law
- Law and philosophy
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My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook.
Does the pervasive influence of luck in life mean that people cannot be held responsible for their choices? Do people lack the control required to justify moral praise and blame? In his famous article "Moral Luck," philosopher Thomas Nagel casts doubt on our ordinary moral judgments of persons. He claims that we intuitively accept that moral responsibility requires control, yet we praise and blame people for their actions, the outcomes of those actions, and their characters – even though shaped by forces beyond their control, i.e., by luck. This is the "problem of moral luck."
In Responsibility & Luck, I argue that this attack on moral judgment rests on a faulty view of control, as well as other errors. By developing Aristotle's theory of moral responsibility, I explain the sources and limits of a person's responsibility for what he does, what he produces, and who he is. Ultimately, I show that moral judgments are not undermined by luck. In addition, this book explores the nature of moral agency and free will, the purpose of moral judgment, causation in tort and criminal law, the process of character development, and more.
Responsibility & Luck is scholarly but accessible to active-minded people interested in philosophy. You can preview the book by reading Chapter One and Chapter Three as PDFs – or by listening to my reading of Chapter One.
About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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