Noûs (2020)

Brendan de Kenessey
University Of Toronto
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 one's own actions turns out to have the very same normative effects, under the very same conditions, as a promise. I submit that this cannot be a coincidence: we should conclude that promises and the relevant kind of proposals in joint practical deliberation are one and the same.
Keywords promises  joint action  joint deliberation  speech acts
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/nous.12269
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Scorekeeping in a Language Game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.

View all 43 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What is morality?Kieran Setiya - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (4):1113-1133.
Promises and All of the People Who Rely on Them.Nick Leonard - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Voluntarism and Transparent Deliberation.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2006 - South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):171-176.
Deliberation and Desire.G. F. Schueler - 2017 - In Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.), The Nature of Desire. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 305-324.
Volatile Reasons.Jason D'Cruz - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1):31 - 40.
Might Intentions Be the Only Source of Practical Imperatives?Chrisoula Andreou - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (3):311-325.
Foundations in Aquinas's Ethics.Scott MacDonald - 2008 - Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):350-367.


Added to PP index

Total views
170 ( #67,863 of 2,497,995 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
20 ( #42,577 of 2,497,995 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes