Contract: Not promise

In order to form a contract at least one of the parties to the bargain must give an undertaking or commitment of the appropriate kind to the other; that is, she must perform a commissive speech act of the right kind. It is widely assumed that the speech act in question is a promise. Indeed it is standard textbook fare that a contract is a promise (or an exchange of promises) that the law will enforce. This assumption underlies the venerable tradition in contract theory of arguing that the morality of promise-keeping bears or ought to bear importantly on the content of the law of contract. In this paper I argue that this assumption is false. By way of a critical examination of Seana Shiffrin's impressive recent contribution to this theoretical tradition, I argue that the commissive speech act by means of which a contract is formed is not the same speech act as that by means of which we voluntarily undertake moral obligations to others.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,831
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

19 ( #144,741 of 1,724,748 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #268,625 of 1,724,748 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.