Die Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie (Sommersemester 1927) by Martin Heidegger, Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann

By Martin Heidegger, Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann

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I invoke a practice which is normally used in the framework of established relationships and which is grounded in trust and respect, by this implying that I am the kind of person who plays by this practice’s rules—that I am, in the relevant sense, trustworthy, that I treat people, and will treat her, with respect. 54 But then if the promisee does take my promise as a reason to believe that I will do what I promised to do, if the promise—which, let us assume, was made sincerely—proves effective, then in a very limited yet sig53 See Raz, above n 13, at 932, 934.

If it were not, there would be little reason to think that it should generally succeed in fulfilling the function or functions it is normally intended to fulfil, little reason to think that its basic rules should be adhered to. In this section I wish to take a closer look at this assumption. I have described the normal reasons to make and to obtain a promise, as well as, correspondingly, the conditions under which promises are normally made, in terms and in light of the role trust plays in the practice.

Yet this function and value could be distinguished from a much less often commented-upon good that promising promotes—a feature to which I shall exclusively refer as the intrinsic value of the practice. This time, let us take our cue from Raz. The principles stating when promises are binding, he wrote: present promises as creating a relation between the promisor and the promisee— which is taken out of the general competition of conflicting reasons. It creates a special bond, binding the promisor to be, in the matter of the promise, partial to the promisee.

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