Agreement as Joint Promise

Hanoch Sheinman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This chapter proposes a general account of agreements within a largely individualistic framework. According to this account, making an agreement is an essentially joint action, one the parties perform together as one. The action of agreement making, which can only be performed jointly, can nevertheless be explained in terms of another action, which can also be performed individually, namely promising. Agreement making on this view is a matter of joint promising. Two promises add up to an agreement-i.e. joint promise-just when they are exchanged-or interdepend-in the right way. On the current proposal, the interdependence of agreement promises is not a matter of the promises being conditional in content (or made under an assumption-indeed, each party promises the other to do her part of the agreement, just like so. Instead, the interdependence of agreement promises is causal-motivational. Specifically, each party's belief that (she will promise later to do her part if an only if the other party promises later to do his) causes and motivates that very party to promise the other later; and each party is aware of this causal-motivational fact.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPromises and Agreements
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophical Essays
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199893836
ISBN (Print)9780195377958
StatePublished - 1 May 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press, 2014.


  • Acceptance
  • Agreement
  • Bratman
  • Causation
  • Gilbert
  • Interdependence
  • Joint action
  • Joint intention
  • Offer
  • Promise


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