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Shaping the Normative Landscape$
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David Owens

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691500

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691500.001.0001

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Which Promises Bind?

Which Promises Bind?

Chapter:
(p.231) 10 Which Promises Bind?
Source:
Shaping the Normative Landscape
Author(s):

David Owens

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691500.003.0011

We must distinguish two questions: (a) Does a promise bind? (b) Are we justified in breaking it? Promises made under duress or induced by deception do not bind. We should distinguish two accounts of how this works: the Fault Account and the Infringement Account. The Authority Interest theory supports the Infringement Account and this provides the better explanation. It is also commonly thought that wicked promises do not bind. The Authority Interest theory suggests otherwise and on this point it is again correct, though we may be justified in breaking a wicked promise.

Keywords:   duress, deception, fault account, infringement account, wicked promises, authority interest

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