Promising in Law and Morals

P. S. Atiyah

in Promises, Morals, and Law

Published in print January 1983 | ISBN: 9780198254799
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681530 | DOI:
Promising in Law and Morals

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The book aims to see what light is thrown on the moral foundations of the law by examination of the principal philosophical theories concerning promises; and to see how well these theories themselves stand up to examination in the light both of the law itself and of the empirical data thrown up by the study of the law. Many issues of common interest to philosophers and lawyers were raised on promissory and contractual obligations. Lawyers generally take it to be axiomatic that this branch of the law is founded upon the prima facie enforceability of promises, subject only to compliance with some simple legal rules. Philosophers on the other hand, view moral obligation to keep a promise, if utilitarianism is rejected, as puzzling in the extreme. How, it is asked, can a person create an obligation by the mere process of wishing to have one, or perhaps, declaring he has one?

Keywords: law; philosophical theories; promises; philosophers; lawyers; moral obligation; utilitarianism

Chapter.  3367 words. 

Subjects: Civil Law

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