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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 30, 2021

Q: What is Tort? A: Categorical Hurt

  • Anita Bernstein EMAIL logo
From the journal Journal of Tort Law


The capacious and hard-to-confine term Tort challenges observers to identify what it includes and does not include. Offered here to describe tort, the label “categorical hurt” makes reference to two foundational characteristics. “Hurt,” the noun in this phrase, insists that tort plaintiffs bring to court their experience of suffering. Its adjective, used in this article to echo the word Immanuel Kant chose to modify a different noun, “imperative,” means that tort courts hear claims of general rather than exclusively personal interest. To earn a tort remedy, the suffering reported by a hurt plaintiff must be of a kind that other people can experience and understand.

Corresponding author: Anita Bernstein, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, NY, 11201-3799, USA, E-mail:

Published Online: 2021-11-30
Published in Print: 2021-10-26

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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