The Power to Promise Oneself

Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (1):61-85 (2014)
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Abstract

Considerable attention has been devoted to the peculiar obligating force of interpersonal promises. But paradigmatic promising is not an orphan in the family of our moral concepts, and the focus on interpersonal promises has overshadowed sibling phenomena that any account of promises should also cover. I examine the case of single-party promises and argue, against the prevailing view, that we have good reason to take the phenomenon of making promises to oneself seriously. This supports what I call ‘the breadth criterion’: theoretical accounts of promising should cover the entire breadth of the phenomenon of promising. I then argue that the breadth criterion poses a novel and formidable obstacle for two prominent views of promising, the social practice view and the expectation view. I conclude by suggesting that there is reason to think that the normative power view of promising may fare better

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Kyle Fruh
Duke Kunshan University

Citations of this work

Wronging Oneself.Daniel Muñoz & Nathaniel Baron-Schmitt - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
The Paradox of Duties to Oneself.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):691-702.
From rights to prerogatives.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):608-623.
Promising's Neglected Siblings: Oaths, Vows, and Promissory Obligation.Kyle Fruh - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):858-880.
Promises.Allen Habib - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 2006 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.

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