Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 117–119 | Cite as

Norbert Anwander, Versprechen und Verpflichten

Paderborn: Mentis, 2008 (series: Perspektiven der Analytischen Philosophie), ISBN 978-3-89785-214-3, 38 EUR (paperback)
  • Christian SeidelEmail author
Our familiar practice of promising becomes puzzling once we try to philosophically make sense of it: What exactly happens when the promisor promises the promisee to do X? And how are we to understand the moral duty to keep one's promises? In his well-argued and highly recommendable book, Anwander sheds light on both questions by developing his “respect account of promises” ( Achtungstheorie), which consists of four claims:
  1. (1)

    Promises are joint commitments of promisee and promisor about what the promisor is obligated to do.

  2. (2)

    A promise creates a non-moral promissory obligation for the promisor to perform the required action.

  3. (3)

    The moral duty to keep promises is the duty to make one's non-performance of the required action dependent upon the promisee's consent.

  4. (4)

    The moral principle underlying this duty is the principle of respecting other persons' (legislative) autonomy.


The first part of the book deals with the very idea of a promise and explains its normativity. On...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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