Promissory estoppel
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A promise is a commitment by someone to do or not do something. As a
noun A noun () is a word that generally functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Living creatures (including people ...
''promise'' means a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. As a
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax generally conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual descrip ...
it means to commit oneself by a promise to do or give. It can also mean a capacity for good, similar to a value that is to be realized in the near future. In the law of
contract A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more Party (law), parties that creates, defines, and governs mutual rights and obligations between them. A contract typically involves the transfer of goods, Service (economics), ser ...
, an exchange of promises is usually held to be legally enforceable, according to the Latin maxim ''
pacta sunt servanda ''Pacta sunt servanda'', Latin for "agreements must be kept", is a Brocard (law), brocard and a fundamental principle of law. According to Hans Wehberg, a professor of international law, "few rules for the ordering of Society have such a deep mor ...
''.


Types

There are many types of promises. There are solemn promises, such as marriage vows or military oaths and are conventions. There are legal contracts, enforceable by law. Or, there are fairy tale promises, regrettable and problematic at the time, they must be honored. And lastly, there are election promises, commitments that most people realize will later be shaped by politics and compromise. Both an
oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon ', also called plight) is either a statement of fact or a promise taken by a sacrality as a sign of verity. A common legal substitute for those who conscientiously object to making sacred oaths is to ...
and an affirmation can be a promise. One special kind of promise is the vow. A notable type of promise is an
election promise An election promise or campaign promise is a promise or guarantee made to the public by a candidate or political party that is trying to win an election. Across the Western world, political parties are highly likely to fulfill their election pr ...
. Election promises are pledges that will be later shaped by politics and the cooperation of individuals. A promise is a manifestation of intent to act or refrain from acting in a specified way at some point in the future. It's communicated by one party, to at least one additional party, to signify a commitment has been made. The person manifesting intent is the Promisor. The person to whom the manifestation is addressed is the Promisee. In law, contracts are created by a process of offer and acceptance. An offer to enter into a binding contract consists of an indication by the Oferror to be legally bound by the terms indicated in the offer once the person to whom the offer is addressed, the Offeree, has accepted the offer in the manner indicated in the offer (if any). Once acceptance has taken place, a binding contract has come into existence and both parties are legally bound by its terms. A contract is therefore a voluntarily assumed legal obligation. A party who fails to perform his obligations under the contract is said to be in breach of contract and is liable to compensate the other party. Compensation normally takes the form of payment of a sum of money sufficient to place the party entitled to damages in the same position as in which that party would have been if the contract had been performed. For instance, if A agrees to sell a car to B for $10,000 and B agrees to pay, then if A fails to deliver the car, B would be entitled to compensation sufficient to enable B to purchase a similar car without having to spend more than the agreed price. Therefore, if by the time of the breach the price of the car has increased by 10%, A would be liable to pay B $1,000, assuming that B has not paid anything yet. If B has paid a deposit of $5,000, then B would be entitled to restitution of his deposit plus the $1,000. A contract may consist of mutual undertakings, as in the example just given, where A agreed to deliver a car and B agrees to pay for it. Such contracts are known as bilateral contracts. But a contract may only give rise to an undertaking by one party, as where A agrees to pay B if B finds a particular car which A has been trying to acquire. B is under no duty to search but would be entitled to payment if she finds the car. Other types of promises would include solemn promises which includes marriage vows and military oaths. People also make fairy tale promises which are regrettable and difficult at the time the promise is made but must still be honored.


Conditional commitment

In
loan guarantee A loan guarantee, in finance, is a promise by one party (the guarantor) to assume the debt obligation of a borrower if that borrower default (finance), defaults. A guarantee can be limited or unlimited, making the guarantor liable for only a porti ...
s, a commitment requires to meet an equity commitment, as well as other conditions, before the loan guarantee is closed.


Religion

Religions have similar attitudes towards promises.


Christianity

In
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
, a distinction is made between simple promises and oaths or vows. An oath is a promise invoking
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
as a witness. A vow is a solemn form of a promise typically made to commit oneself to a moral good with God as witness, and binds oneself to its fulfillment over time. Some groups of Christians, such as the
Religious Society of Friends Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of Christian denomination, denominations known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Members of these movements ("theFriends") are generally united by a belie ...
and the
Mennonite Mennonites are groups of Anabaptism, Anabaptist Christianity, Christian church communities of denominations. The name is derived from the founder of the movement, Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland. Through his writings about Reformed Chris ...
s, object to the taking of both oaths and affirmations, basing their objections upon a commandment given in the
Sermon on the Mount The Sermon on the Mount (anglicized from the Matthean Vulgate Latin section title: ) is a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth found in the Gospel of Matthew (chapters Matthew 5, 5, Matthew 6, 6, and Matthew 7, 7). ...
, and regard all promises to be witnessed by God. See also
biblical covenants The Hebrew Bible makes reference to a number of covenants ( he, בְּרִיתוֹת) with God (YHWH). These include the Covenant (biblical)#Noahic covenant, Noahic Covenant (in Book of Genesis, Genesis), which is between God and all living creat ...
.


Islam

In Surah An-Nahl, God forbids
Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
s to break their promises after they have confirmed them. All promises are regarded as having Allah as their witness and guarantor. In the
hadith Ḥadīth ( or ; ar, حديث, , , , , , , literally "talk" or "discourse") or Athar ( ar, أثر, , literally "remnant"/"effect") refers to what the majority of Muslims believe to be a record of the words, actions, and the silent approva ...
, Muhammad states that a Muslim who made a promise and then saw a better thing to do, should do the better thing and then make an act of atonement for breaking the promise. It is forbidden to break an oath in Islam. However, when someone does break an oath, they are required to ask for forgiveness and make up for the sin by feeding/clothing 10 poor people or freeing a slave (which is nearly impossible today), or, if unable to do these, to fast for three days. One of the four types of promises that are punished quickly is when you want to harm a relationship when the other person wants to keep it.


Philosophy

Philosophers have tried to establish rules for promises.
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher and one of the central Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers. Born in Königsberg, Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemolo ...
suggested promises should always be kept, while some consequentialists argue that promises should be broken whenever doing so would yield benefits. In '' How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time'', Iain King tried to reconcile these positions, suggesting that promises should be kept 'unless they are worth less to others than a new option is to you,' and that this requires a relevant, unforeseen and reasonably unforeseeable change in the situation more important than the promise itself arising after the promise is made. As opposed to Kant, some Rossian pluralists believe that morality with regards to right and wrong cannot be formalized in writing. In certain circumstances, breaking one's promise may be more beneficial than the cost of keeping it. These moral principles need guidance and good judgments to maximize the benefits of people involved.


Politics

In
democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
promises are made to offer assurance, especially during election. Political tactic to offer promise that would guarantee a better future to sway voters. In Western democracies, election promises are more often fulfilled than not. However, certain promises are famously broken.


Society

The "promise", in
sociology Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of Interpersonal ties, social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It uses various methods of Empirical ...
and society, as discussed by C. Wright Mills and others is the ideological impression or commitment our society makes to us, and the commitment we make to our society in return for
prosperity Prosperity is the flourishing, thriving, good fortune and successful social status. Prosperity often produces profuse wealth including other factors which can be profusely wealthy in all degrees, such as happiness and health. Competing notions ...
. The best or most popular example of this is the American Dream.


Psychology

Promises are compared with threats by Verbrugge, Dieussaert, Schaeken and William. When a threat or promise is conditional, it tends to receive biconditional interpretation. Also, both threats and promises are highly controlled by the speaker. The fundamental difference is the valence of the prospective action on the speaker's part. In the case of a promise it is generally positive while in the case of a threat it is negative. There is some evidence to suggest that threats are perceived simply as negative promises. However, promises are often made with an intent on the speaker's part to convince a hearer to do something by holding out the prospect of a reward; threats by contrasts are often made with an intent to influence a hearer's behavior by holding out the prospect of a punishment. In addition, certain characteristics of promises and threats, such as "magnitude" and "credibility", affect the probability that the target will gain compliance or failure. DeLamater John D. & Meyers J. Daniels. Social Psychology. Wadsworth Publishing; 7 edition, 2010, p. 212 Promises can fall under many different categories, however they will have two key components. The type of activity that the promises undertakes to do, and the content of the promise. Promises can give us both the security that something is being fully guaranteed and the stress that you are guaranteeing something that cannot be verified at that given moment. This can create both a positive and a negative effect on our minds.


See also

* Asmachta *
Contract law A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more Party (law), parties that creates, defines, and governs mutual rights and obligations between them. A contract typically involves the transfer of goods, Service (economics), ser ...
* Documentality *
Lie A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used with the purpose of deception, deceiving or Deception, misleading someone. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who communicates a lie may be termed a l ...


Notes


References

*
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...
, '' The Republic'' (c. 370 BC) Book I, 33IB *
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
, ''
De Officiis ''De Officiis'' (''On Duties'' or ''On Obligations'') is a political and ethical treatise by the Roman Republic, Roman orator, philosopher, and statesman Cicero, Marcus Tullius Cicero written in 44 BC. The treatise is divided into three books, in ...
'' (c. 20 BC) I, C. IO, III, cc. 24–25 *'' Decretals of Gregory IX'' lib. II, tit. 26, C. 27,
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (church leadership) for the government of a Christian organization or chur ...
did not enforce all promises *Reinach, ''The Apriorischen Grundlagen des Bürgerlichen Rechtes'' (1922) §§ 2–4, that all rational societies need to have some way of making promises binding *Hooker, Brad. "Moral Rules and Principles." ''Encyclopedia of Philosophy''. Ed. Donald M. Borchert. 2nd ed. Vol. 6. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006. 382–385.


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