Varandra som vänner och fiender - en idékritisk undersökning om kontraktet och dess grund.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This is a book about reciprocity in social relationships - about friendship. It also deals with the moral and legal norms which, conversely, promote one-sided and even directly hostile relationships. The starting-point for this work is certain central elements in Aristotelian ethics. The study revolves around the values which constitute the social relationship of friendship and the central question concerns what importance is to be ascribed to these values in contractual relationships. It is a question which ultimately demonstrates the conflict existing between two different views of human beings and the relationships between them, a conflict which finds expression inter alia in perceptions about the principles on which the legal system should be founded. Above all, this work focuses on the juridical content of the relationship which is manifested in contracts. The questions treated do not, however, relate solely to private law but are also matters of moral philosophy, political philosophy and legal philosophy. In this presentation the Aristotelian way of thinking is contrasted both with private law theories about contract as promise and with theories of society as a contract. The author advance the thesis that the essence of the contract is that it is a social relationship in which the parties have a reciprocal obligation to treat one another justly and to protect one another’s interests that goes beyond what they have promised. This obligation of reciprocal care and loyalty is expressed in a principle which in Aristotelian concept formation is termed “commutative justice”. The point of departure is thus a view which perceives friendship as the social model for the contract and commutative justice as its normative basis. It is that view of contract and its foundation which is discussed in this book and it is against the background of that view that a critical analysis of the contract as it is understood in the liberal juridical tradition is conducted. The fundamental questions in the book concern these two distinct ways of looking at contracts - how these two views developed in the history of ideas, the distinctions between them as regards the underlying view of society and mankind and how they influence argumentation regarding contract law.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • reciprocity, friendship, conceptions of contract, contract law, promise, loyalty, commutative justice, Aristotelian ethics, view of society and mankind, philosophy, liberalism, history of ideas, philosophy of law, theory of law, rättsfilosofi, rättsteori, civilrätt, private law, rättsvetenskap, law
Translated title of the contributionFriends or Foes - a Philosophical Study of the Role and Importance of Human Relationships in the Sphere of Contract Law
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Nov 19
  • Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion
Print ISBNs91-7139-678-0
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-11-19 Time: 10:15 Place: Kulturen, Auditoriet, Karlins plats, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Wilhelmsson, Thomas Title: Professor Affiliation: Department of Private Law, University of Helsinki, Finland ---