Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2162656
 


 



Is There a Reason to Keep Promises?


Joseph Raz


University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Columbia University - Law School; King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law

October 16, 2012

Columbia Public Law Research Paper No.12-320
Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 62/2012
King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2014-5

Abstract:     
If promises are binding there must be a reason to do as one promised. The paper is motivated by belief that there is a difficulty in explaining what that reason is. It arises because the reasons that promising creates are content-independent. Similar difficulties arise regarding other content-independent reasons, though their solution need not be the same.

Section One introduces an approach to promises, and outlines an account of them that I have presented before. It forms the backdrop for the ensuing discussion. The problems discussed in the paper arise, albeit in slightly modified ways, for various other accounts as well. It is, however, helpful to use a specific account as a springboard leading to one explanation of promissory reasons, namely of the reasons that valid promises constitute for performing the promised act (Section Two). We can call it the bare reasons account. Sections Three and Four will raise difficulties with that account, leading to its abandonment in favour of an alternative in Sections Five and Six.

The revision corrects mistakes and clarifies the way the different elements in the account are related.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: promise, content-independent reasons, David Owens, normative powers, promissory reasons, weight of reasons

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Date posted: October 16, 2012 ; Last revised: March 19, 2014

Suggested Citation

Raz, Joseph, Is There a Reason to Keep Promises? (October 16, 2012). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No.12-320; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 62/2012; King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2014-5. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2162656 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2162656

Contact Information

Joseph Raz (Contact Author)
University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )
St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://josephnraz.googlepages.com/home
Columbia University - Law School ( email )
435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
HOME PAGE: http://josephnraz.googlepages.com/home
King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )
Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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