Promising Without Intending
22 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2008 Last revised: 23 Dec 2008
Date Written: February 1, 2008
It is widely held that one who sincerely promises to do something must at least intend to do that thing: a promise communicates the intention to perform. In this paper, I argue that a promise need only communicate the intention to undertake an obligation to perform. I consider examples of sincere promisors who have no intention of performing. I argue that this fits well with what we want to say about other performatives - giving, commanding etc. Furthermore, it supports a theory of promissory obligation which I have advocated elsewhere - the authority interest theory - against the orthodox information interest theory.
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