In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 3. pp. 59-78 (2013)

Mark van Roojen
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
T. M. Scanlon suggests that the binding nature of promises itself plays a role in allowing a promisee rationally to expect follow through even while that binding nature itself depends on the promisee’s rational expectation of follow through. Kolodny and Wallace object that this makes the account viciously circular. The chapter defends Scanlon’s theory from this objection. It argues that the basic complaint is a form of wrong kinds of reason objection. The thought is that the promisee’s reason to expect compliance are undermined if the promise is binding only when the promisee forms that very expectation. The chapter suggests that other uncontroversially rational processes of multi-person coordination involve beliefs with the very same feature. Focal point reasoning in the theory of games is one example. In coordination situations it can be rational to believe that another person will do something precisely because that person expects you to believe what one does about what they’ll do. An examination of the reasoning in such cases motivates a group reflection principle that vindicates the reasoning employed in Scanlon’s account.
Keywords Promising  Wrong Kinds of Reasons  Assurance  Focal Points  Reflection Principle  Circularity Objection  Kolodny  Coordination
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How Truth Governs Belief.Nishi Shah - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (4):447-482.
The Toxin Puzzle.Gregory S. Kavka - 1983 - Analysis 43 (1):33-36.
Distorted Reflection.Rachael Briggs - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (1):59-85.

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