David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethics 105 (3):604-612 (1995)
Can two promises add up to an agreement? Not according to Margaret Gilbert. 1 She has forcefully challenged the orthodox view that an agreement is an exchange of promises. She works through an intricate series of examples of promise-exchanges and argues that none qualifies as an agreement. Assuming that she has not overlooked any plausible candidates, she concludes that agreements are essentially different. It seems, however, that her examples are all exchanges of promises only in an attenuated sense of "exchange." I propose to defend the orthodox view by considering what it is for promises to be exchanged in a fuller sense and what sorts of promises thus exchanged can comprise an agreement.
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