William Mann bill_mann at SIL.ORG
Fri Feb 23 22:03:09 UTC 2001


I was glad to see Steve Long's clarification of my line of thinking about
"meeting of minds."  Yes, that's how they do it, and we can use comparable

Of course, the objective existence of two boats by the same name is
essential in the example.  For us, it is this pair of boats that makes
credible the two sets of intentions involved, and makes it credible that
they disagreed in crucial details, in spite of the fact that such
conversations generally converge in terms of what each one thought the
other's intentions were.

So we might say that the need for this legal doctrine arises from the fact
that "grounding" and establishing of "mutual knowledge" tend not to fail,
and so a rule is needed about the exceptional cases where they do fail.

Bill Mann

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Long" <Salinas17 at AOL.COM>
To: <FUNKNET at>
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2001 4:27 PM
Subject: Re: intent

> In a message dated 2/23/2001 3:09:39 PM, bill_mann at SIL.ORG writes:
> << I recall a concept from a contract law course. It was called "meeting
> minds."  An example: If A and B create a sale contract, so that A is
> a boat named "Happy Trails,"  a barge, but B is buying a boat named "Happy
> Trails,"  a schooner, and it can be established that these were the
> that were being thought when the
> contract was signed, then by law there was no "meeting of minds."  >>
> But there is plenty of judicial dicta (official judge talk) that makes it
> clear that the trier of fact (e.g., jury) cannot try to read minds.  This
> from the "seminal" (often cited) case quoted in Black's Law Dictionary:
> "The 'meeting of the minds' required to make a contract is not based on
> secret purpose or intention on the part of one of the parties, stored away
> his mind and not brought to the attention of the other party, but must be
> based on the purpose and intention that has been made known or should have
> been known ... from the circumstances."  McClintock v. Skelly Oil Co., 232
> Mo. App. 1204, 114 S.W. 2d, 181, 184
> So as a matter of evidence, what tells us that there might be no contract
> the example you gave was NOT what was going on in A and B's heads, but the
> fact that there were two different ships by the same name.
> Of course, the parties must give their reports of what they were thinking.
> But that would only stand up if there were two different ships or some
> OBJECTIVE reason for a lack of common intent.
> Regards,
> Steve Long

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