Reasons to keep our promises Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Cureton, Adam
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy
  • I argue that none of the main accounts of our fiduciary obligations can explain why we should keep our promises in all (or most) cases that involve binding promises. T. M. Scanlon’s expectation view is subject to a fatal circularity in paradigm cases in which our only reason to keep a promise is an awareness that, having made a promise, we are obligated to keep it. Hume’s view cannot explain why we ought to keep a promise the breaking of which is unlikely to undermine the institution of promising. And Rawls’ view (along with Hume’s) cannot explain why it is wrong to break promises that are made when no institution of promising exists. After arguing for these claims, I sketch a pluralist account according to which a family of fiduciary principles, including ones similar to those suggested by Hume, Rawls and Scanlon, explains why we ought to keep our promises.
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  • In Copyright
  • Hill, Thomas E.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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