Chapter

Promising and Non-Utilitarian Philosophies

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/9780198254799.003.0004
Promising and Non-Utilitarian Philosophies

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This chapter reviews some of the principal accounts given by ethical theories of the morality of promises. It also makes a distinction between the utilitarian and the performative theories. The utilitarian says that a promise implies or asserts that the promisor intends to do something; while the performative theorist declares that it makes no such assertion, but simply creates an obligation to do the act promised. The author also surveys the various points of view about the binding nature of the ‘practice of promising’ and examines the distinction between regulative and constitutive rules.

Keywords: ethical theories; morality; promises; utilitarian theories; performative theories; practice of promising

Chapter.  15832 words. 

Subjects: Civil Law

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