Isaac Newton on Inertia

Isaac Newton defined inertia in his first law of motion. Here’s how his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica describes inertia: The vis insita, or innate force of matter, is a power of resisting by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line. If I … Read More

Cognitive Dissonance and Contract Drafting

I’ve been thinking about cognitive dissonance. Here’s some of what Wikipedia has to say on the subject: The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. Cognitive dissonance is the … Read More

Someone Else Takes On “Tested” Contract Language

For lawyers unwilling or unable to overhaul their traditional contract language, the excuse of choice is that traditional language has been “tested”—if you meddle with it, you’re exposing yourself to all sorts of risk. I discussed in this 2006 post how the notion of “tested” contract language is nonsense, and I revisited the issue in this 2012 post, as well … Read More

The Concept of “Tested” Contract Language

In the past ten days, I have twice had people mention to me, in the course of conversation, the notion of “tested” contract language. The idea is that while contract prose could certainly be improved, changing it would be risky—traditional contract language has been litigated, or “tested,” and so has a clearly established meaning (is “settled”). This argument has long … Read More