Promises and Perlocutions
SCANLON'S CONTRACTUALISM: READINGS & RESPONSES, Matt Mattravers, ed., p. 93, Taylor and Francis, 2003
Posted: 6 May 2008
Date Written: 2003
This is a critical analysis of T.M. Scanlon's contractualist account of promising and promissory obligation. After situating Scanlon's account within one of two broad schools of thought on promising (the 'perlocutionary' school) I argue that his account fails to overcome a fatal circularity that plagues all such theories of promise. I go on to argue that Scanlon's contractualist moral theory will support an alternative, non-perlocutionary theory of promise that is not susceptible to this logical difficulty.
Keywords: Promises; Promising; Scanlon, T.M.
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