Promise as practice reason

Acta Analytica 23 (4):287-318 (2008)
Abstract
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.
Keywords Promise  Practice  Reason  Obligation  Self-interest  Hume
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-008-0033-1
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Intentionality.John Searle - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.

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