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On Commitments and Other Uncertainty Reduction Tools

Abstract : In this paper, we evaluate the proposal that a central function of commitments within joint action is to reduce various kinds of uncertainty, and that this accounts for the prevalence of commitments in joint action. While this idea is prima facie attractive, we argue that it faces two serious problems. First, commitments can only reduce uncertainty if they are credible, and accounting for the credibility of commitments proves not to be straightforward. Second, there are many other ways in which uncertainty is commonly reduced within joint actions, which raises the possibility that commitments may be superfluous. Nevertheless, we argue that the existence of these alternative uncertainty reduction processes does not make commitments superfluous after all but, rather, helps to explain how commitments may contribute in various ways to uncertainty reduction.
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Contributor : Elisabeth Pacherie <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 11:26:17 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 8:53:33 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_01067231, version 1



John Michael, Elisabeth Pacherie. On Commitments and Other Uncertainty Reduction Tools. Journal of Social Ontology, de Gruyter, 2014, pp.1-34. ⟨ijn_01067231⟩



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