We make no promises

Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):33 - 46 (2005)
I discuss three views of promising: the view is that promising is a social practice, and that our obligation to keep promises is related to the practice in some way; Scanlon’s non-practice view, and Wallace and Kolodny’s “hybrid view”. I shall argue that none of these accounts is satisfactory, and propose a fourth view: deflationism. Deflationism is the view that saying “I promise” merely adds emphasis and does not incur any extra obligation.
Keywords Promises  Practices  R. Jay Wallace  Niko Kolodny  Assurance  Hybrid view  Consequentialism  Assurance  Scanlon  Deflationism
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