Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):858-880 (2019)

Kyle Fruh
Duke Kunshan University
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 fill out what I call the ‘breadth criterion’: Theories of promising should cover not only customary, interpersonal promises but also sibling phe- nomena, including oaths and vows. Accommodating the breadth criterion is not something all theories of promising are positioned to accomplish. I focus on the challenge that the breadth criterion poses for Scanlon’s influential ex- pectation view of promising and suggest a normative powers account will fare better.
Keywords promises  promising  promissory obligation  oaths  vows  scanlon
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/papq.12286
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,130
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 - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
The Realm of Rights.Carl Wellman - 1992 - Journal of Philosophy 89 (6):326-329.
Specifying Norms as a Way to Resolve Concrete Ethical Problems.Henry S. Richardson - 1990 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 19 (4):279-310.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Promises and All of the People Who Rely on Them.Nick Leonard - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
The Social Ontology of Promising.Steven Norris - 2021 - Ratio 34 (4):324-333.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Contractualist Account of Promising.Michael J. Cholbi - 2002 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):475-91.
Promising - Part 2.Ulrike Heuer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):842-851.
Promising ‐ Part 2.Ulrike Heuer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):842-851.
The Hybrid Nature of Promissory Obligation.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2007 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (3):203–232.
Promises and the Backward Reach of Uptake.Hallie Liberto - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):15-26.
Promise as Practice Reason.Hanoch Sheinman - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (4):287-318.
Consequentialism, Deontology and the Morality of Promising.Nikil Mukerji - 2014 - In Johanna Jauernig & Christoph Lütge (eds.), Business Ethics and Risk Management. Springer. pp. 111-126.
Directed Obligations and the Trouble with Deathbed Promises.Ashley Dressel - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):323-335.
Promising-Part 1.Ulrike Heuer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):832-841.
Promising‐Part 1.Ulrike Heuer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):832-841.
The Bounds of Morality.Jeffrey S. Helmreich - 2018 - ProtoSociology 35:217-234.


Added to PP index

Total views
17 ( #635,999 of 2,506,425 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,997 of 2,506,425 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes