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Pre-contractual duties to inform in Early Modern Scholasticism

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This paper seeks to highlight the early modern scholastic contribution to dealing with the issue of pre-contractual duties to inform. Bringing together different strands of thought, ranging from Aristotelian philosophy to Roman law, the 16th and 17th century scholastics developed adequate analytical tools to solve legal and moral problems arising from information disparities between contracting parties. While first looking at the different classical and medieval texts that shaped the early modern debate, this paper then goes on to give a systematic account of how the early modern scholastics dealt with duties of disclosure about both intrinsic and extrinsic defects in the merchandise. A final chapter looks at how the early modern scholastic debate was received in the Northern natural law school, before concluding that the early modern scholastics took a surprisingly negative attitude towards duties to inform.

Affiliations: 1: Research Fellow FWO-Vlaanderen, K.U. Leuven, Research Unit Roman Law and Legal History, Sint-Michielsstraat 6, B-3000 Leuven;, Email:; 2: Professor of European Legal History, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Law, De Boelelaan 1105, NL-1081 HV Amsterdam


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