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Promises, Oaths, and Vows


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Table of Contents

Promising and Morality. Why Do We Make Promises? Promise Keeping as One of the Defining Acts of Morality: Philosophical, Historical, and Legal Background. Promising and the Theory of Mind in Development. Empirical Studies of Moral Development. Developmental and Regressive Aspects of Making and Breaking Promises. Mature and Regressive Determinants of the Keeping of Promises. Implicit Promising and the Implicit Promise. Promising in the Clinic. Promising as an Element of Form and Content in Greek Drama. Promising in Shakespearean Drama. Forms of Promising in Religious Practices.

About the Author

Herbert J. Schlesinger, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, USA


"In this fascinating, clear, wise and informative book by a master psychoanalytic clinician and educator, Herbert Schlesinger fills a gap in the developmental psychology literature regarding the ordinary and important human capacity for morality and trust. Promises, both implicit and explicit, form the basis of human relationships and are a requirement for our psychotherapy work. Dr. Schlesinger enlightens as he informs and can be read not only by psychoanalysts, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals but by all educated seekers of compassionate truth." - Eric Marcus, M.D., Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons "Schlesinger takes the commonplace and everyday acts of making, keeping, and breaking promises, and transforms and broadens them into a comprehensive and complexly nuanced psychoanalytic understanding of the psychology of promising in its multiple variations: 'primary' (propitiatory) and 'secondary' (morally committed) promising, explicit and implicit promising, etc., all as revealed in everyday life and in everyday psychotherapy, and also as attested in our entire cultural heritage, from the ancient Greek drama, through Shakespeare's sonnets and plays, and in the oaths, vows, and covenants that mark our religious traditions. A breathtaking enlargement of our psychological vistas." - Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D., Former President, American Psychoanalytic Association (1971-72) and International Psychoanalytical Association (1985-89)

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