John C. Harsanyi sketches an entire normative and metaethical theory in under twenty pages. Combining breadth and brevity, his essay is useful and interesting. It reveals the interrelations between Harsanyi's positions on various issues as no longer work or series of articles could do. But by virtue of its programmatic nature, the essay creates a dilemma for a commentator, at least for one who finds many things to disagree with. If I responded to Harsanyi in the same sweeping terms in which he argues, we would end up with little more than opposing assertions. At the other extreme, I could point out what seem to me particular defects in Harsanyi's arguments as they stand. But that would seem pedantic and ungenerous if my particular objections could be avoided by spelling out his arguments at greater length, as some of them surely could. (I am especially troubled by this possibility because I am persuaded that in the past I once misinterpreted an argument of Harsanyi's and treated it unjustly.) Constraints of space prevent me from first spelling out Harsanyi's arguments as best I can and then criticizing them. Accordingly, I shall limit myself to two topics, chosen partly because I think the observations I shall make are worth making whether or not they represent points of ineliminable disagreement between Harsanyi and myself.
Regan, Donald H. "On Preferences and Promises: A Response to Harsanyi." Ethics 96, no. 1 (1985): 56-67.