DOI link for Binding oneself
Binding oneself book
This chapter examines the theme of norm following by way of a discussion of binding oneself. One type of commitment involves the imposition of restrictions on one’s own conduct in accord with a norm. Amartya Sen characterizes commitments as self-imposed constraints, a depiction which Daniel Hausman challenges. Stage one of the analogy concerns Sen’s depiction of the libertarian approach to rights. In the context of rights, Sen addresses an analogous issue. Mass death from starvation, Sen observes ‘can reflect legality with a vengeance’. Sen holds that the violation of rights is something bad in itself, independent of the possibly salutary consequences of rights violations on social welfare or on some other value. Upholding or violating a commitment in a given situation, whilst it might have a positive effect on the welfare of the individual concerned, is not of significance in terms of its welfare effects alone, for the breach is also of normative significance.