Promises

Edited by Allen Habib (University of Calgary)
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  1. Immoral Promises.F. E. Guerra-Pujol - manuscript
    The proposition that “promises ought to be kept is one of the most important normative ideas or value judgements in our daily lives. But what about “illegal promises”? That is to say, what about promises that are, legally or morally speaking, malum in se or inherently wrongful, such as voluntary exchanges that are inherently immoral or wrongful, like bribes, blackmail, murder, etc.? In short, what moral obligations, if any, do such promises impose? Although many of the greatest thinkers in Western (...)
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  2. Reply to John Searle's Conjunctive Conditions for Non-Defective Promising.Kim S. Mendoza - manuscript
    John Searle’s Speech Act Theory enumerates necessary and sufficient conditions for a non-defective act of promising in producing sincere promises. This paper seeks to demonstrate the conjunctive insufficiency of the foregoing conditions due to the inadequacy of the sincerity condition to guarantee predicated acts being fulfillable. Being the definitive condition which contains the psychological state distinct in promises as illocutionary acts, that is the expression of intention (S intends to A), I purport that not all sincere promises are non-defective. To (...)
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  3. Graveside and Other Asymmetrical Promises in Advance.Ingrid V. Albrecht - forthcoming - Social Theory and Practice.
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  4. Hume’s practice theory of promises and its dissimilar descendants.Rachel Cohon - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    Why do we have a moral duty to fulfill promises? Hume offers what today is called a practice theory of the obligation of promises: he explains it by appeal to a social convention. His view has inspired more recent practice theories. All practice theories, including Hume’s, are assumed by contemporary philosophers to have a certain normative structure, in which the obligation to fulfill a promise is warranted or justified by a more fundamental moral purpose that is served by the social (...)
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  5. Promises as Proposals in Joint Practical Deliberation.Brendan de Kenessey - forthcoming - Noûs.
    This paper argues that promises are proposals in joint practical deliberation, the activity of deciding together what to do. More precisely: to promise to ϕ is to propose (in a particular way) to decide together with your addressee(s) that you will ϕ. I defend this deliberative theory by showing that the activity of joint practical deliberation naturally gives rise to a speech act with exactly the same properties as promises. A certain kind of proposal to make a joint decision regarding (...)
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  6. Loyalty to Others Vs. Loyalty to the Oath of Office.Frank Kardasz - forthcoming - Ethics.
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  7. Are All Practical Reasons Based on Value?Benjamin Kiesewetter - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    According to an attractive and widely held view, all practical reasons are explained in terms of the (instrumental or final) value of the action supported by the reason. I argue that this theory is incompatible with plausible assumptions about the practical reasons that correspond to certain moral rights, including the right to a promised action and the right to an exclusive use of one’s property. The argument is an explanatory rather than extensional one: while the actions supported by the relevant (...)
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  8. Promise, Agreement, Contract.Gregory Klass - forthcoming - In Hanoch Dagan & Benjamin Zipursky (eds.), Research Handbook on Private Law Theories.
    It is natural to wonder about contract law’s relationship to the morality of promises and agreements. This Chapter distinguishes two ways to conceive of that relationship. First, parties’ agreement-based moral obligations might figure into the explanation of contract law—into an account of its functions or justifications. Contract law might serve to enforce parties’ first-order performance obligations, to enforce second-order remedial obligations, to support the culture of making and keeping agreements more generally, or at least to do no harm to that (...)
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  9. Group Agents and Moral Status: What Can We Owe to Organizations?Adam Lovett & Stefan Riedener - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    Organizations have neither a right to the vote nor a weighty right to life. We need not enfranchise Goldman Sachs. We should feel few scruples in dissolving Standard Oil. But they are not without rights altogether. We can owe it to them to keep our promises. We can owe them debts of gratitude. Thus, we can owe some things to organizations. But we cannot owe them everything we can owe to people. They seem to have a peculiar, fragmented moral status. (...)
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  10. What Immigrants Owe.Adam Lovett & Daniel Sharp - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Unlike natural-born citizens, many immigrants have agreed to undertake political obligations. Many have sworn oaths of allegiance. Many, when they entered their adopted country, promised to obey the law. This paper is about these agreements. First, it’s about their validity. Do they actually confer political obligations? Second, it’s about their justifiability. Is it permissible to get immigrants to undertake such political obligations? Our answers are ‘usually yes’ and ‘probably not’ respectively. We first argue that these agreements give immigrants political obligations. (...)
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  11. The People’s Integrity and Property – a Reply to My Critics.Shmuel Nili - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-10.
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  12. Hume On Is and Ought: Logic, Promises and the Duke of Wellington.Charles Pigden - forthcoming - In Paul Russell (ed.), Oxford Handbook on David Hume. Oxford University Press.
    Hume seems to contend that you can’t get an ought from an is. Searle professed to prove otherwise, deriving a conclusion about obligations from a premise about promises. Since (as Schurz and I have shown) you can’t derive a substantive ought from an is by logic alone, Searle is best construed as claiming that there are analytic bridge principles linking premises about promises to conclusions about obligations. But we can no more derive a moral obligation to pay up from the (...)
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  13. Could Ross’s Pluralist Deontology Solve the Conflicting Duties Problem?Cecilia Tohaneanu - forthcoming - Revue Roumaine de Philosophie 59.
    No matter how it is viewed, as a plausible version of anti-utilitarianism or of non-consequentialist, or even as a plausible version of deontology, the theory of prima facie duties certainly makes W. D. Ross one of the most important moral philosopher of the twentieth-century. By outlining his pluralistic deontology, this paper attempts to argue for a positive answer to the question of whether Ross’s theory can offer a solution to the issue of conflicting duties. If such a solution is convincing, (...)
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  14. The Loyalty Oath.Howard B. White - forthcoming - Social Research.
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  15. Trust-Based Theories of Promising.Daniele Bruno - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (280):443-463.
    This paper discusses the prospects of a comprehensive philosophical account of promising that relies centrally on the notion of trust. I lay out the core idea behind the Trust View, showing how it convincingly explains the normative contours and the unique value of our promissory practice. I then sketch three distinct options of how the Trust View can explain the normativity of promises. First, an effect based-view, second, a view drawing on a wider norm demanding respect to those whom one (...)
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  16. Apology, Restitution, and Forgiveness After Psychological Contract Breach.Nicholas DiFonzo, Anthony Alongi & Paul Wiele - 2020 - Journal of Business Ethics 161 (1):53-69.
    Using forgiveness theory, we investigated the effects of organizational apology and restitution on eliciting forgiveness of a transgressing organization after transactional psychological contract breach. Forgiveness theory proposes that victims are more likely to forgive offenders when victims’ positive offender-oriented emotions replace negative ones. Three pre-post laboratory experiments, using vignettes about a broken promise of financial aid, found that while apology-alone and restitution-alone each increased likelihood of forgiving, restitution-alone was the more effective of the two responses. When combined with an apology, (...)
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  17. Truthfulness Without Truth.Allan Hazlett - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Research 45:115-131.
    It is natural to think that the badness of false belief explains the badness of lying. In this paper, I argue against this: I argue that the badness of false belief does not explain the badness of lying and that, given a popular account of the badness of lying, the badness of false belief is orthogonal to the badness of lying.
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  18. Matters of Trust as Matters of Attachment Security.Andrew Kirton - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (5):583-602.
    I argue for an account of the vulnerability of trust, as a product of our need for secure social attachments to individuals and to a group. This account seeks to explain why it is true that, when we trust or distrust someone, we are susceptible to being betrayed by them, rather than merely disappointed or frustrated in our goals. What we are concerned about in matters of trust is, at the basic level, whether we matter, in a non-instrumental way, to (...)
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  19. Consequentialism and Promises.Alida Liberman - 2020 - In Douglas Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. pp. 289 - 309.
    I explore the debate about whether consequentialist theories can adequately accommodate the moral force of promissory obligation. I outline a straightforward act consequentialist account grounded in the value of satisfying expectations, and raise and assess three objections to this account: that it counterintuitively predicts that certain promises should be broken when commonsense morality insists that they should be kept, that the account is circular, and Michael Cholbi’s argument that this account problematically implies that promise-making is frequently obligatory. I then discuss (...)
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  20. Promises, Rights, and Deontic Control.Crescente Molina - 2020 - Law and Philosophy 39 (4):409-426.
    This article argues that the notion of a promissory right captures a central feature of the morality of promising which cannot be explained by the notion of promissory obligation alone: the fact that the promisee acquires a full range of control over the promisor’s obligation. It defends two main claims. First, it argues that promissory rights are distinctively grounded in our interest in controlling others’ deontic world. Second, it proposes a version of the ‘Interest Theory’ of rights that incorporates our (...)
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  21. Variable Objects and Truthmaking.Friederike Moltmann - 2020 - In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality. Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford University Press.
    This paper will focus on a philosophically significant construction whose semantics brings together two important notions in Kit Fine’s philosophy, the notion of truthmaking and the notion of a variable embodiment, or its extension, namely what I call a ‘variable object’. This is the construction of definite NPs like 'the number of people that can fit into the bus', 'the book John needs to write', and 'the gifted mathematician John claims to be'. Such NPs are analysed as standing for variable (...)
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  22. The Paradox of Duties to Oneself.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):691-702.
    Philosophers have long argued that duties to oneself are paradoxical, as they seem to entail an incoherent power to release oneself from obligations. I argue that self-release is possible, both as a matter of deontic logic and of metaethics.
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  23. “You Took an Oath!”: Engaging Medical Students About the Importance of Oaths and Codes Through Film and Television.Kayhan Parsi & Nanette Elster - 2020 - HEC Forum 32 (2):175-189.
    In this paper, we will consider the role of oaths and codes of ethics in undergraduate medical education. Studies of ethics syllabi suggest that ethics educators typically use well-known bioethics texts such as Beauchamp and Childress. Yet, many issues that medical students will face are addressed by codes of ethics and oaths. We will first provide a historical survey of oaths and codes and then address how these sources of ethical guidance can be effectively used in ethics education of medical (...)
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  24. Promises as invitations to trust.Robert Shaver - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1515-1522.
    It is now popular to think that promissory obligation is grounded in an invitation to trust. I object that there are important differences between invitations and promises; appealing to trust faces one of the main problems alleged to face appealing to expectations; and whatever puzzles afflict promissory obligation afflict the obligation not to renege on one’s invitations.
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  25. Consequentialism and Robust Goods.Vuko Andrić - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (3):334-342.
    In this article, I critique the moral theory developed in Philip Pettit's The Robust Demands of the Good: Ethics with Attachment, Virtue, and Respect. Pettit's theory, which I label Robust-Goods Consequentialism, aims to avoid the problems but retain the attractive features of traditional consequentialist theories. The distinctive feature of Robust-Goods Consequentialism is a value theory that attempts to accommodate what Pettit calls rich goods: certain moral phenomena that can be categorized under the headings of attachment, virtue and respect. I argue (...)
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  26. The Identity-Enactment Account of Associative Duties.Saba Bazargan-Forward - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2351-2370.
    Associative duties are agent-centered duties to give defeasible moral priority to our special ties. Our strongest associative duties are to close friends and family. According to reductionists, our associative duties are just special duties—i.e., duties arising from what I have done to others, or what others have done to me. These include duties to abide by promises and contracts, compensate our benefactors in ways expressing gratitude, and aid those whom we have made especially vulnerable to our conduct. I argue, though, (...)
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  27. Moral Risk and Communicating Consent.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2019 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (2):179-207.
    In addition to protecting agents’ autonomy, consent plays a crucial social role: it enables agents to secure partners in valuable interactions that would be prohibitively morally risk otherwise. To do this, consent must be observable: agents must be able to track the facts about whether they have received a consent-based permission. I argue that this morally justifies a consent-practice on which communicating that one consents is sufficient for consent, but also generates robust constraints on what sorts of behaviors can be (...)
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  28. Почему эвиденциалисты должны верить обещаниям (Why Evidentialists Must Believe in Promises).Pavel Butakov - 2019 - Phiosophy. Journal of the Higher School of Economics 3 (3):172-200.
    I argue that evidentialist ethics of belief requires believing in every promise, because any promise always has sufficient evidence. In order to combine evidentialism with ethics of belief, I distinguish two belief-like propositional attitudes. The first is categorical belief, which I call “opinion,” the second is quantitative belief, which I call “credence.” I accept doxastic voluntarism about opinions, and doxastic involuntarism about credences. Opinion has two values—affirmative and negative—and the subject has control over which one to choose. Credence can have (...)
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  29. Hard Incompatibilism and the Participant Attitude.D. Justin Coates - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (2):208-229.
    Following P. F. Strawson, a number of philosophers have argued that if hard incompatibilism is true, then its truth would undermine the justification or value of our relationships with other persons. In this paper, I offer a novel defense of this claim. In particular, I argue that if hard incompatibilism is true, we cannot make sense of: the possibility of promissory obligation, the significance of consent, or the pro tanto wrongness of paternalistic intervention. Because these practices and normative commitments are (...)
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  30. Promising as Doxastic Entrustment.Jorah Dannenberg - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (4):425-447.
    I present a novel way to think about promising: Promising as Doxastic Entrustment. The main idea is that promising is inviting another to entrust her belief to you, and that taking a promiser’s word is freely choosing to accept this invitation. I explicate this through considering the special kind of reason for belief issued by a promiser: a reason whose rational status depends both on the will of the promiser to provide it, and on the will of the promisee to (...)
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  31. Promising's Neglected Siblings: Oaths, Vows, and Promissory Obligation.Kyle Fruh - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):858-880.
    Promises of a customary, interpersonal kind have received no small amount of philosophical attention. Of particular interest has been their capac- ity to generate moral obligations. This capacity is arguably what distinguishes promises from other, similar phenomena, like communicating a firm intention. But this capacity is common to still other nearby phenomena, such as oaths and vows. These latter phenomena belong to the same family of concepts as promises, but they are structurally and functionally distinct. Taken in their turn, they (...)
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  32. Kant on the Bounds of Promise Making: A Mendelssohnian Account.Ryan S. Kemp - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):453-467.
    European Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  33. Evidence and Agency: Norms of Belief for Promising and Resolving.Christian Kietzmann - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):197-199.
    Evidence and Agency: Norms of Belief for Promising and Resolving. By Marušić Berislav.
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  34. Permissible Promise-Making Under Uncertainty.Alida Liberman - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (4):468-486.
    I outline four conditions on permissible promise-making: the promise must be for a morally permissible end, must not be deceptive, must be in good faith, and must involve a realistic assessment of oneself. I then address whether promises that you are uncertain you can keep can meet these four criteria, with a focus on campaign promises as an illustrative example. I argue that uncertain promises can meet the first two criteria, but that whether they can meet the second two depends (...)
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  35. Promises and Promissory Obligations [or When Is There No Obligation to Keep a Promise?].Alistair M. Macleod - 2019 - Journal of Social Philosophy 50 (4):577-596.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  36. Sľuby a procedúry (The Promises and Procedures).Vladimir Marko - 2019 - Filozofia 74 (9):735-753.
    The work tends to point out the deficiency of some opinions claiming simplified presentation of the promise as the act that directly rise obligation for the promisor. Promises, either in the moral or legal sphere, are based on communication and so form an order of dependent steps that indicates their procedural nature. These characteristics may differ to a lesser extent, depending on the legal systems, moral norms of the society and its technical level and its needs. In all these cases, (...)
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  37. Is There Value in Keeping a Promise?Crescente Molina - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (1).
    According to Joseph Raz, the fact of making a valid promise creates “promissory reasons”: it constitutes for the promisor a reason for performing her promise and a reason for not acting for at least some of the reasons that recommend something different than performing. In his latest work on promising, Raz provides a novel account of the grounds of promissory reasons—an account which is different in important respects to the one he defended decades ago. In this paper, I argue that, (...)
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  38. What Is Conventionalism About Moral Rights and Duties?Katharina Nieswandt - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):15-28.
    ABSTRACTA powerful objection against moral conventionalism says that it gives the wrong reasons for individual rights and duties. The reason why I must not break my promise to you, for example, should lie in the damage to you—rather than to the practice of promising or to all other participants in that practice. Common targets of this objection include the theories of Hobbes, Gauthier, Hooker, Binmore, and Rawls. I argue that the conventionalism of these theories is superficial; genuinely conventionalist theories are (...)
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  39. Political Consent, Promissory Fidelity and Rights Transfers in Grotius.Laetitia Ramelet - 2019 - Grotiana 40 (1):123-145.
    Grotius is now widely acknowledged as an important figure in early modern contractual and consensual theories of political authority and legitimacy. However, as his thoughts on these debates are disseminated throughout his works rather than systematically ordained, it remains difficult to assess what, if anything, constitutes his distinctive mark. In the present paper, I will argue that his works contain a combination of two conceptual elements that have come to constitute a salient characteristic of early modern contract and consent theories: (...)
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  40. Promising Under Duress.Prince Saprai - 2019 - Law and Philosophy 38 (5-6):465-480.
    In her chapter “Duress and Moral Progress”, Seana Shiffrin offers a novel perspective on coerced promises. According to the dominant view, these promises confer no right to performance on the coercer and do not create new reasons for the victim. Shiffrin accepts that these promises fail to confer rights, but disagrees that they never alter the victim’s moral profile. She argues that they do at least where promises are ‘initiated’ by the victim, rather than ‘dictated’ by the coercer. The initiation (...)
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  41. Nietzsche on the Origin of Conscience and Obligation.Avery Snelson - 2019 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 50 (2):310-331.
    The second essay of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality (GM) offers a naturalistic and developmental account of the emergence of conscience, a faculty uniquely responsive to remembering and honoring obligations. This article attempts to solve an interpretive puzzle that is invited by the second essay's explanation of nonmoral obligation, prior to the capacity to feel guilt. Ostensibly, Nietzsche argues that the conscience and our concept of obligation originated within contractual (“creditor-debtor”) relations, when creditors punished delinquent debtors (GM II:5). However, this interpretation, (...)
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  42. Graveside and Other Asymmetrical Promises.Ingrid V. Albrecht - 2018 - Social Theory and Practice 44 (4):469-483.
    People who make graveside promises consider themselves bound by them, which raises the question of whether a promise can morally obligate a promisor directly to a promisee who cannot acknowledge the promise. I show that it can by using the theoretical framework provided by “transaction accounts” of promising. Paradigmatically, these accounts maintain that the creation of a promissory obligation requires that the promisee consent to the promise. I extend these accounts to capture promises made by proxy and self-promises, and conclude (...)
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  43. Distinct Patterns of Cognitive Conflict Dynamics in Promise Keepers and Promise Breakers.Cinzia Calluso, Anne Saulin, Thomas Baumgartner & Daria Knoch - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  44. Expectations and Obligations.Matej Cibik - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1079-1090.
    Ever since the publication of Scanlon’s Promises and Practices and What We Owe to Each Other, expectations have become an important topic within discussions on promises. However, confining the role of expectations to promises does not do justice to their importance in creating obligations more generally. This paper argues that expectations are one of the major sources of obligations created within our personal relationships. What we owe to our friends, partners, or siblings very often follows neither from the duties associated (...)
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  45. Oath and Office.Mitchell Dean - 2018 - Télos 2018 (185):67-91.
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  46. Is the Biblical Land Promise Irrevocable?: Post-Nostra Aetate Catholic Theologies of the Jewish Covenant and the Land of Israel.Adam Gregerman - 2018 - Modern Theology 34 (2):137-158.
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  47. Avant-propos : Contrats de partenariat public privé (2018) par Pascal Mukonde Musulay ISBN 978-2-88931-244-3.Ignace Haaz - 2018 - Globethics African Law Series No. 5.
    Le présent ouvrage fait suite aux deux précédents volumes de l’auteur : (2015) Droit des affaires en Afrique subsaharienne et économie planétaire, et (2016) : Démocratie électorale en Afrique subsaharienne Entre droit, pouvoir et argent, publiés par les Éditions Globethics. Bien que Pascal Mukonde convoque le thème du contrat du point de vue strictement juridique et dans le contexte du droit africain en RD. Congo, sur une ligne de recherche systématique (p.75), nous souhaitons mentionner comme préliminaire, la place de l’éthique (...)
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  48. The Bounds of Morality.Jeffrey S. Helmreich - 2018 - ProtoSociology 35:217-234.
    Margaret Gilbert’s ‘Three Dogmas about Promising’ is a paradigm-shifting contribution to the literature, not only for its account of promissory obligation based on joint commitment, but for its equally important focus on two properties of such obligation, which her account uniquely and elegantly captures: first, that the duty to keep a promise is necessary—the obligation stands regardless of the content or morality of the promise—and, second, that it is directed, with the promisee having unique standing to demand performance. A related (...)
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  49. Promises and the Backward Reach of Uptake.Hallie Liberto - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):15-26.
    I present a set of cases that pose problems for existing theories of promissory uptake. These cases involve a delayed receipt and/or acceptance of a promise, though the obligation arises before the receipt or acceptance has taken place; a delay or absence of agency on the part of the promisee—making it impossible to satisfy the various suggested uptake criteria, though promissory obligation is nonetheless generated; and the promise is made to someone, de dicto—that is, the person who will be the (...)
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  50. Between Promise and Contract: The Limits of Application of Philosophical Discourse on Promises to Theory of Contract Law.Szymon Osmola - 2018 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 9 (1):111-128.
    The concept of promise may be very interesting for legal theorists, especially contract law theorists. The article aims to briefly discuss the issue of promises in contemporary analytic philosophy and show some of its possible applications in legal theory. Three basic approaches will be distinguished: the contract as a promise paradigm and two ways of its critique: formal and material. The contract as a promise paradigm will be rejected as incapable of coping with, among others, the so-called autonomy paradox. Arguments (...)
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