This book develops and defends a conception of commitment and explores its limits. Gary Chartier shows how commitment serves to resolve conflicts between ordinary moral intuitions and the reality that the basic aspects of human well-being are incommensurable. He outlines a variety of overlapping and mutually reinforcing rationales for making commitments, explores the relationship between commitment and vocation and the relevance of commitment to love, and notes some reasons why it might make sense to disregard one’s commitments. The Logic of Commitment will appeal to ethicists interested in the connection between commitment and personal well-being, and to anyone who wonders why and when it might make sense to make or keep commitments.
"Gary Chartier's Logic of Commitment is the first book-length study of commitment to appear for twenty years. As such it is a welcome addition to the literature on this underexplored topic. And Chartier's angle is distinctive in a way that magnifies the value of his contribution. Best known for a rich body of work in natural law theory and left-libertarian political philosophy, he offers a sidelong perspective on something best discussed in recent years by philosophers of practical reason and moral psychologists . . . Philosophers from either theoretical background will be rewarded by committing to reading this short, engaging, and often stylishly written book." – Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"A brief but compelling study of the logic and morality of personal commitments, and their importance for a life well-lived. Gary Chartier's clear prose and wide reading make this an important contribution to ethical and meta-ethical theory." —Stephen R. L. Clark, University of Liverpool
"'Commitments matter,’ writes Gary Chartier in his new book: ‘they provide needed structure and direction for our lives … and the grounding we need to craft stable identities and secure our projects.’ In this careful, scholarly, and revealing study Chartier develops a conception of commitments that shows their deep analogy with promises, and makes important headway on some of the puzzles and problems that the notion of a commitment raises for our theory of motivation and practical reason. This book can be recommended to anyone who wants to see how a distinctively non-consequentialist philosophical ethics can be put together on the basis of a deep pluralism about the human goods." —Sophie-Grace Chappell, Open University
"In this engaging and original discussion of commitment, Gary Chartier distinguishes commitments from promises, and shows the role commitments play in love, in creating and sustaining an integrated self, in character development, and in well-being. A commitment is a firm resolve to do or be something that binds the agent’s future actions and attitudes; it may involve others, but it is an obligation to oneself, not to others. For example, one can make a commitment to keep a promise to someone. This generates self-regarding reasons, in addition to the obvious other-regarding ones, for keeping the promise. This concern for the self one creates and preserves through one’s commitments is very much in the spirit of a natural law or eudaimonistic ethics, and showing the value of making commitments serves to provide further support for this ethics." —Neera Badhwar, University of Oklahoma
Introduction: Exploring Commitment
1. Commitment and Instrumental Reason
2. Commitment, Identity, and Integrity
3. Commitment and Basic Goods
4. Commitment and Vocation
5. Commitment and Love
Conclusion: Commitment and Flourishing
Routledge Focus on Philosophy is an exciting and innovative new series, capturing and disseminating some of the best and most exciting new research in philosophy in short book form. Peer reviewed and at a maximum of fifty thousand words shorter than the typical research monograph, Routledge Focus on Philosophy titles are available in both ebook and print on demand format. Tackling big topics in a digestible format the series opens up important philosophical research for a wider audience, and as such is invaluable reading for the scholar, researcher and student seeking to keep their finger on the pulse of the discipline. The series also reflects the growing interdisciplinarity within philosophy and will be of interest to those in related disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.