Date of Award

8-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Christie Hartley

Second Advisor

Dan Weiskopf

Abstract

Elizabeth Brake presents a plausible contradiction: Promise breaking is regarded as impermissible, and marital promises are regarded as legitimate promises, however, we take divorce, which is a breaking of a marital promise, as generally permissible. Brake’s response to the inconsistency of these beliefs is to assert that we misunderstand marital promises altogether. She argues that marital vows misfire (that is they do not come to enforce promissory obligation) because they attempt to make promises about what one cannot control, one’s emotions—namely love. My project will be in response to this view. First, I contend that Brake is wrong to think that marriage vows are illegitimate promises and second, I offer what I take to be a stronger resolution to the divorce inconsistency posed by Brake.

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