Chapter

Promising and Utilitarianism

P. S. Atiyah

in Promises, Morals, and Law

Published in print January 1983 | ISBN: 9780198254799
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681530 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254799.003.0003
Promising and Utilitarianism

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This chapter discusses that the utilitarian account of promising places most of its weight on the expectations created by promises and on the fact that people rely upon them, and would suffer harm as a result of so relying if promises were not kept. It discusses the distinction between ‘rule utilitarianism’ and ‘act utilitarianism’, and recognizes that both moral bases seem unable to offer an acceptable explanation of why a promise remains binding when it would be best on the whole to break it.

Keywords: utilitarianism; promising; expectations; reliance; rule utilitarianism; act utilitarianism

Chapter.  25820 words. 

Subjects: Civil Law

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