David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Why have philosophers since Hume regarded promising as problematic? I distinguish two problems raised by Hume. The problem of the bare wrong is the problem of how it can make sense to avoid a wrong when the wrong does not affect any intelligible human interest. The problem of normative power is the problem of how something can be a wrong simply because it has been declared to be a wrong. I argue that the problem of the bare wrong is more basic. I then examine the attempts of practice theorists like Hume and Rawls to overcome the problem of the bare wrong by arguing that whenever breach of promise seems like a bare wrong, in fact human interests are adversely affected because a socially valuable practice is damaged. I argue that their various explanations cannot cover all the cases. I then formulate an assumption which is shared by all practice theorists (and others) namely the assumption that we take promises seriously because they serve our interest in social co-ordination. I argue that if this assumption were true, there need be no practice of promise-keeping for promises to bind. Furthermore, were this assumption true, promising would be a social tool that we could largely do without. And so long as promising intelligibility is in doubt (because of the problem of the bare wrong) an adherent of the social co-ordination hypothesis should assume that we largely do do without it. So anyone who gives promising a key role in human social life must reject the social co-ordination hypothesis.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2000). Expressivism and Embedding. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):677-693.
David Owens (2011). The Possibility of Consent. Ratio 24 (4):402-421.
Kenneth Shockley (2008). On That Peculiar Practice of Promising. Philosophical Studies 140 (3):385 - 399.
Niko Kolodny & R. Jay Wallace (2003). Promises and Practices Revisited. Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (2):119–154.
David Owens (2006). A Simple Theory of Promising. Philosophical Review 115 (1):51-77.
David Owens (2007). Duress, Deception, and the Validity of a Promise. Mind 116 (462):293-315.
Jason Kawall (2006). On Promising to Supererogate: A Response to Heyd. Philosophia 34 (2):153-156.
Jonathan Way (2012). Transmission and the Wrong Kind of Reason. Ethics 122 (3):489-515.
Jonathan B. King (1993). Learning to Solve the Right Problems: The Case of Nuclear Power in America. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 12 (2):105 - 116.
Added to index2009-02-15
Total downloads48 ( #35,020 of 1,102,928 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #62,013 of 1,102,928 )
How can I increase my downloads?