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Moral Issues Behind Keeping Promises Essay, Research Paper

The Moral Issues behind Keeping Promises

Almost every relationship between two people involves the making of promises to each other. It involves giving each other words that must be followed given any certain circumstance. Therefore, making a promise implies that one will keep it, as in staying true to one?s word. With this, one?s future actions must lie on the basis of words spoken prior to the action being taken, and it must not stray from this rule. From this, some philosophically interesting issues arise.

Morals come into question quite often when promises are made. For whatever reason one person makes a promise to another and for whatever manner he or she makes that promise, they place themselves in a situation similar to or in complete sympathy with the person to whom the promise has been made. With this situation, it is possible that it may not be in the best interest of the person who has made the promise to keep the promise. If such a situation were to occur, the promise will only hold depending upon certain conditions of the case. Thus, if one breaks a promise, it is not necessarily a reflection of that person?s ability to keep his or her word. Rather, it is a reflection of his noted decision to put his or her interests behind those of the one whom the promise is for. Such an issue makes promise keeping philosophically interesting since the idea of ?service before self? would never arise if people never made promises. If such a society were to exist, no moral credit would be given for keeping a promise, and no feelings of blame would arise when breaking a promise. Therefore, it would be deemed stupid and dangerous to place oneself in a position of future disadvantage.

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