Gregory Keating shares reflections on reasonableness and risk

November 02, 2023

Professor Keating and members of the Tort Law Research Group

Gregory Keating, the William T. Dalessi Professor Law and Philosophy at USC Gould School of Law, delivered the first Tort Law Research Group Public Lecture of the 2023-2024 academic year on September 28, 2023.

Professor Keating’s talk, “Reflections on Reasonableness and Risk,” summarized the main arguments of his recently published monograph Reasonableness and Risk: Right and Responsibility in the Law of Torts (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Professor Keating urged his audience of Western Law students and faculty to understand tort law as a matter of justice, coequal with constitutional law in protecting persons from unreasonable interference. Tort law, in Professor Keating’s view, is a matter of basic justice. Tort law’s primary norms reflect the basic parts of our social life, and tort law itself is uniquely situated to protect interests that are vital to our effective human agency. Moreover, Professor Keating argued, reasonableness, not rationality, is the distinctive norm of tort law as tort law is about what we owe each other, not about how to design an institution of cost-efficient accident avoidance. Reasonableness, so understood, involves taking into appropriate account the interests of others such that one’s actions are justifiable to them.

Professor Keating is an editor of a torts casebook and has published widely on torts, professional responsibility, and legal theory. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Faculty of Jurisprudence at the University of Brescia, and the Buchmann Faculty of Law.

The TLRG’s Public Lectures for the 2023-2024 academic year are generously sponsored by Shillington McCall LLP.