Promise as practice reason

Acta Analytica 23 (4):287-318 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX


To promise someone to do something is to commit oneself to that person to do that thing, but what does that commitment consist of? Some think a promissory commitment is an obligation to do what’s promised, and that while promising practices facilitate the creation of promissory obligations, they are not essential to them. I favor the broadly Humean view in which, when it comes to promises (and so promissory obligations), practices are of the essence. I propose the Practice Reason Account of promises, according to which a promise is basically to give oneself a self-interested practice reason to do what’s promised. One achieves this feat by invoking self-enforcing independent practice rules thanks to which one’s doing what’s promised preserves one’s promissory trust(worthiness) and promising power. However, nothing in this account supports the Hume-Rawls claim that promise-keeping or promise-breaking is right just when and because it conforms to practice rules that are justified by their good- or right-making properties.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,031

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Directed Obligations and the Trouble with Deathbed Promises.Ashley Dressel - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):323-335.
Promise as Practice.William Joseph Vitek - 1989 - Dissertation, City University of New York
A contractualist account of promising.Michael J. Cholbi - 2002 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):475-91.
Promising ‐ Part 2. [REVIEW]Ulrike Heuer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):842-851.
Promising - Part 2.Ulrike Heuer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):842-851.
Promises, Practices, and Reciprocity.C. M. Melenovsky - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):106-126.
Is There Value in Keeping a Promise?Crescente Molina - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (1).
Promising by Right.Jorah Dannenberg - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.


Added to PP

120 (#153,845)

6 months
17 (#161,262)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Hanoch Sheinman
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan

Citations of this work

Compromisos sociales y obligaciones racionales.Miranda del Corral de Filipe - 2015 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 66:27-40.

Add more citations

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
How to do things with words.John Langshaw Austin - 1962 - Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press. Edited by Marina Sbisá & J. O. Urmson.

View all 50 references / Add more references