Chapter

The Promissory Bond

David Owens

in Shaping the Normative Landscape

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691500
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744938 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691500.003.0010
The Promissory Bond

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According to Scanlon's expectation theory, one makes a promise by communicating the intention to perform and the promise binds when it makes the promisee believe that you will perform. The expectation theory cannot account for the difference between promises and other speech acts (like prediction) that influence the expectations of others. It also finds it hard to explain why a promisee must have the power to release the promisor from their promise. The authority interest theory does a better job of explaining both the power of release and also the need for acceptance of the promise by the promisee. Finally, promises can be more or less solemn (as requests can be more or less urgent) and this dimension of solemnity depends on the promisor's intentions rather than on the strength of the expectations induced in the promisee.

Keywords: T. M. Scanlon; authority interest; expectation theory; prediction; release; acceptance; request; solemnity

Chapter.  12932 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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