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Review of Understanding People Normativity and Rationalizing Explanation by Alan Millar
Metapsychology (2005)
  • Matthew Pianalto, Eastern Kentucky University
Abstract

Suppose I make a promise to meet a friend for lunch on Friday. By promising, I incur an obligation to meet my friend for lunch. One explanation of why I incur this obligation is that the concept of promising (as well as the action of promising) possesses an essentially normative element. If I make a promise to do such and such, then I have a normative reason to do such and such. If I do not intend to perform a particular action, then I ought not promise to do it -- that is, given that I understand what is involved in promising, I have a normative reason not to promise anything that I do not intend to carry out. If I do keep my promise to meet my friend, the reason for my action can be explained in terms of my having promised to do so. (There is a distinction here between the reason why the two of us are meeting -- to catch up with each other, say goodbye, talk shop, etc. -- and the reason why I carry through with my promise.) My keeping the promise to my friend is guided by the grasp I have of the concept of promising and my understanding of the normative commitment making a promise incurs -- to do what is necessary to keep the promise, barring extenuating circumstances.

Disciplines
Publication Date
May 30, 2005
Citation Information
Matthew Pianalto. "Review of Understanding People Normativity and Rationalizing Explanation by Alan Millar" Metapsychology Vol. 9 Iss. 22 (2005)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/matthew_pianalto/20/