without exception). Searle holds that such factual attitudes suffice for the functioning of the relevant institutions, including their deontic dimension. The argument does not need to refer to endorsement, which would jeopardize the argument against the Is-Ought Thesis. Thus, whether or not Searle ’ s argument against that thesis works depends in part on whether collective acceptance supports or generates obligations. Another claim that one might wish to question is that the statement that to make a promise entails an obligation to do as promised holds a priori. In section 4 I shall discuss Gilbert ’ s ( 2006 ) views. She defends both claims. Together with the status account of constitutive rules, this entails that Searle ’ s Is-Ought Argument has in effect only recently received a proper defense, one that is made explicit in this paper. 4 Collective Acceptance and Obligations At the heart of the argument concerning promising presented in section 3 lies the idea that collective acceptance can by itself support or generate obligations. This is the case when collectively accepting a rule or norm implies being bound by it. Now, why should we believe this? Searle ( 1995 ) maintains that social rights and obligations owe their existence to collective acceptance. However, what he says about collective acceptance does not reveal anything about why it might generate obligations. Without further arguments, Searle ’ s claim is unconvincing. 13 Gilbert ( 2006 ), on the other hand, provides an account of collective acceptance that goes some way towards explaining how it obligates. I present her account in this section, and discuss her arguments in favor of it in section 5 . The central notion in Gilbert ’ s account of collective, or in her terms ‘ joint ’ acceptance is joint commitment (I shall follow Gilbert ’ s usage of the term ‘ joint acceptance ’ from this point onwards). A collection of individuals can be jointly committed to a propositional attitude such as belief, or intention. Focusing on beliefs and intentions, they become jointly committed by each openly expressing his or her willingness to be committed to the belief or the intention together with the others with whom they hereby come to form a group (Gilbert 1996 , 349). As a consequence of doing so, they are obliged to uphold the belief or intention in group-related contexts (Gilbert 1989 ; see Tuomela 1995 for similar claims). This process 13 What Searle ( 1999 ) says about desire-independent reasons could be taken to imply that he no longer believes that collective acceptance is the ultimate source of institutional obligations. Searle ( 1999 ) proposes that an intention to do as promised results in a desire-independent reason to do as promised, and that the person who made the promise has such a reason irrespective of whether at the time the obligation is to be discharged she desires to do as promised. Note that this flies in the face of the fact that we do not let people off the hook when they say they never really intended to keep their promise in the first place.
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