Have you ever made an “immoral promise,” i.e. have you ever promised to do something wrongful, like tell a lie or steal? (By the way, how does one decide when something is wrongful?) Is such a promise even logically possible; specifically, is an immoral promise a paradox or a contradiction? Here is an excerpt from our work in progress “Immoral Promises“:
… when the promisor makes an immoral promise, is the promisor under a moral obligation to keep his word? From a logical perspective, there are four possibilities: I. No: no promises are morally binding. II. No: only moral promises are morally binding. III. Yes: all promises, even illegal ones, are morally binding. IV. Yes: only illegal/immoral promises are morally binding.
We can safely ignore option IV, since it is not only paradoxical but also nonsensical. This leaves us options I, II, and III for consideration. Of these remaining logical possibilities, option II appears to be the one that is most likely to be true, but is it? For this option to be true we must have some reliable method of distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ promises, moral and immoral ones.