Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



This essay offers some brief thoughts on Seana Shiffrin‘s recent work regarding the divergence of contractual and promissory norms. The author conclude that Shiffrin does not do enough to separate and account for the different consequentalist and deontological justifications underlying each institution, and does not do enough to explain how promises give rise to the “moral” duties she posits. The author suggest, instead, that the divergence between contract and promise is justified by the different roles each institution plays in our lives, and that, in fact, keeping strictly promissory duties outside the scope of state coercion actually facilitates a strong culture of responsible moral agency.

Publication Citation

24 Can. J. L. & Jurisprudence 225 (2011).

Included in

Contracts Commons