This book aims to provide a new approach to thinking about the role of contract law in a liberal state. The fundamental idea is that the law should affirmatively facilitate citizens' autonomy by creating and sustaining various different types of contractual relationships so that citizens have the option to choose among them. The authors start from the idea that "bargaining for terms is not the dominant mode of contracting . . . the mainstay of present-day contracting is the choice among types" (2-3). We choose to relate as employees or independent contractors, married or just cohabiting, merchants selling goods or private individuals selling goods as-is. Given that the choice of contract type plays such an important determining role in structuring a relationship, citizen autonomy is enhanced by appropriately cultivating these types. "Contractual freedom means the ability to choose from among a sufficient range of off-the-shelf, normatively attractive contract types and then, perhaps, make a few contextual adjustments within the deal" (2-3). For this reason, our autonomy is best advanced, not by a unitary and neutral law of contract, but by a multiplicity of distinct contract doctrines tailored to the diversity of human interactions.
Cornell, Nicolas. Review of The Choice Theory of Contracts, by Hanoch Dagan and Michael Heller. Notre Dame Phil. Reviews (2017).