Promises, Social Acts, and Reid's First Argument for Moral Liberty

  title={Promises, Social Acts, and Reid's First Argument for Moral Liberty},
  author={Gideon Yaffe},
  journal={Journal of the History of Philosophy},
  pages={267 - 289}
  • G. Yaffe
  • Published 24 April 2007
  • Philosophy
  • Journal of the History of Philosophy
This paper is concerned to bring out the philosophical contribution that Thomas Reid makes in his discussions of promising. Reid discusses promising in two contexts: he argues that the practice of promising presupposes the belief that the promisor is endowed with what he calls 'active power' (EAP, IV.6), and he argues against Hume's claim that the very act of promising—and the obligation to do as one promised—are "artificial," or the products of human convention (EAP, V.6). In addition to… 
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