How to Commit Marriage

Elizabeth Brake

in Minimizing Marriage

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199774142
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933228 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

How to Commit Marriage

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Commitment, as an internal psychological disposition, is not created in the wedding ceremony: one may profess commitment without having it, and being committed requires a temporal duration longer than a wedding. Rather than creating commitments, marriage provokes pressure to keep them. But does this make marriage valuable? Institutions which encourage keeping commitments are only as valuable as the objects of commitment. Are marital commitments rational, or good for the parties involved? The marriage commitment is good for spouses when it helps them – like Ulysses tied to the mast – protect their best interests against fleeting desires. But as a general defense of marriage, the claim that such commitment is always in spouses’ best interests relies on problematic essentialism about the human good. Other defenses of marriage argue that marriage is socially valuable because it teaches spouses the virtue of committedness. But commitment to injustice or vice is no virtue.

Keywords: marriage; commitment; precommitment; rational choice; ulysses contracts; value; virtues; obligations

Chapter.  10137 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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