Hobbes, who ridiculed the rhetorical supporter of this insane problem, says it is never rational to break a promise (Lev). xv: 101 ff). Hobbes defends him first by reminding us that, in his view, alliances beyond the reach of a civil power capable of imposing the treaty by punishing the parties are not alliances at all, and that all contracting parties therefore have the reason to punish the sovereign for keeping his promise. And even in the case of „state of war,” the promise is always rational, because the state of war requires that we associate with „confederations” for security, and a reputation as a promise-breaker will make this confederation impossible. Unlike some contracting parties (see Scanlon 1998, see section 6.2, below), Rawl`s promises are not regarded as sui generis moral acts, but as essentially institutional artifacts and therefore as institutional obligations founded in the same way as all these obligations. These institutions are composed of rules that prescribe and prohibit certain behaviors for participants in the institution. The diktat of the rules is the content of moral obligations (Rawls 1971: 112). Rawls, on the other hand, establishes institutional obligations in what he calls the principle of fairness. The principle of fairness is a basic moral principle chosen by contractors in the operating theatre. But unlike its famous Rawlsian konate the principle of difference, the principle of fairness is an individual principle that applies directly to individuals in society, unlike the fundamental institutions of society itself. Rawls sets out the principle of fairness as follows: This is how Rawls` statement on the binding force of promises is crude: if one makes a promise under a just too promising institution, one is obliged to respect this institution (and respect its rules), because it would otherwise be to „liberate” the institution in a wise „freedom” forbidden by the principle of fairness. And we should finally find that there seems to be a clear concern for the treaty theorists in their attempts to explain the obligation of guilt – because a contract (or agreement, a pact, etc.) seems to be exactly the same as a promise, or at least it seems that they are closely linked enough not to use one of them to „explain” the other in the pain of emptiness.
Such an objection was raised against Rawlsschen`s contractual approach (see section 3.4 below). But this apparent circularity may be misleading. To understand why, we must first distinguish between the actual arrangements, meat and blood, in the law or in society in general, which we call „contracts,” and the theoretical apparatus that treaty theorists use to develop moral principles, which is also called „treaty” (more metaphorical). It is obviously viciously circular grounding of the ground change obligations in a first type contract, but not the last. To avoid this type of circularity, the „contract” invoked by the theories of the contract obviously cannot do its job by remembering the fact that one is obliged to keep one`s word in an agreement. But there are other, non-circular ways of approaching the idea of the treaty. Contractors, for example, address rationality (in a sense of maximizing the usefulness of this concept) to follow the terms of the „contract” (i.e. respect for moral principles), while contractors generally appeal to the „relevance” or „fairness” of the principles that manifest themselves in the social contract.