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  1. Fabrizio Cariani (2013). 'Ought' and Resolution Semantics. Noûs 47 (3):534-558.
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  2. Nate Charlow (2013). What We Know and What to Do. Synthese 190 (12):2291-2323.
    This paper discusses an important puzzle about the semantics of indicative conditionals and deontic necessity modals (should, ought, etc.): the Miner Puzzle (Parfit, ms; Kolodny and MacFarlane, J Philos 107:115–143, 2010). Rejecting modus ponens for the indicative conditional, as others have proposed, seems to solve a version of the puzzle, but is actually orthogonal to the puzzle itself. In fact, I prove that the puzzle arises for a variety of sophisticated analyses of the truth-conditions of indicative conditionals. A comprehensive solution (...)
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  3. Nate Charlow (2011). Practical Language: Its Meaning and Use. Dissertation, University of Michigan
    I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's CDF is to (...)
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  4. Nate Charlow (2010). Restricting and Embedding Imperatives. In M. Aloni, H. Bastiaanse, T. de Jager & K. Schulz (eds.), Logic, Language, and Meaning: Selected Papers from the 17th Amsterdam Colloquium. Springer.
    We use imperatives to refute a naïve analysis of update potentials (force-operators attaching to sentences), arguing for a dynamic analysis of imperative force as restrictable, directed, and embeddable. We propose a dynamic, non-modal analysis of conditional imperatives, as a counterpoint to static, modal analyses. Our analysis retains Kratzer's analysis of if-clauses as restrictors of some operator, but avoids typing it as a generalized quantifier over worlds (against her), instead as a dynamic force operator. Arguments for a restrictor treatment (but against (...)
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  5. Matthew Chrisman (2012). 'Ought' and Control. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):433-451.
    Ethical theorists often assume that the verb ?ought? means roughly ?has an obligation?; however, this assumption is belied by the diversity of ?flavours? of ought-sentences in English. A natural response is that ?ought? is ambiguous. However, this response is incompatible with the standard treatment of ?ought? by theoretical semanticists, who classify ?ought? as a member of the family of modal verbs, which are treated uniformly as operators. To many ethical theorists, however, this popular treatment in linguistics seems to elide an (...)
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  6. Matthew Chrisman (2012). On the Meaning of 'Ought'. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 7. Oxford University Press. 304.
    Discussions about the meaning of the word “ought” are pulled in two apparently competing directions. First, in ethical theory this word is used in the paradigmatic statement of ethical principles and conclusions about what some agent is obligated to do. This leads some ethical theorists to claim that the word “ought” describes a real relation, roughly, of being obligated to (realism) or expresses some non-cognitive attitude toward agents acting in certain ways (expressivism). Second, in theoretical linguistics this word is classified (...)
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  7. Benj Hellie (forthcoming). How We Do. In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modals. Oxford UP.
    Anscombean action theory hits the semantics and pragmatics of practical language with some assistance from mindset semantics. Hilites: an intention is an attitude toward an action-type, implemented by another intention; the structural order of intentions is recognized in knowhow; knowhow is grasp of an 'instruction' -- a conditional with imperative antecedent and consequent; the content of an imperative is an action-type; a command involving a certain imperative manifests an intention of our collective agency regarding the content of the imperative; a (...)
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  8. Frank Jackson & Robert Pargetter (1986). Oughts, Options, and Actualism. Philosophical Review 95 (2):233-255.
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  9. Andrew J. I. Jones & Ingmar Pörn (1986). Ought' and 'Must. Synthese 66 (1):89 - 93.
  10. Hans Kamp (1973). Free Choice Permission. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74:57 - 74.
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  11. Niko Kolodny & John MacFarlane (2010). Ifs and Oughts. Journal of Philosophy 107 (3):115-143.
    We consider a paradox involving indicative conditionals (‘ifs’) and deontic modals (‘oughts’). After considering and rejecting several standard options for resolv- ing the paradox—including rejecting various premises, positing an ambiguity or hidden contextual sensitivity, and positing a non-obvious logical form—we offer a semantics for deontic modals and indicative conditionals that resolves the paradox by making modus ponens invalid. We argue that this is a result to be welcomed on independent grounds, and we show that rejecting the general validity of modus (...)
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  12. David Lewis (1979). A Problem About Permission. In Esa Saarinen, Risto Hilpinen, Illka Niiniluoto & Merrill Provence (eds.), Essays in Honour of Jaakko Hintikka on the Occasion of His Fiftieth Birthday on January 12, 1979. Reidel. 163-175.
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  13. Rosja Mastop (2011). Norm Performatives and Deontic Logic. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7 (2):83-105.
    Deontic logic is standardly conceived as the logic of true statements about the existence of obligations and permissions. In his last writings on the subject, G. H. von Wright criticized this view of deontic logic, stressing the rationality of norm imposition as the proper foundation of deontic logic. The present paper is an attempt to advance such an account of deontic logic using the formal apparatus of update semantics and dynamic logic. That is, we first define norm systems and a (...)
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  14. Paul McNamara (2011). Supererogation, Inside and Out: Toward an Adequate Scheme for Common Sense Morality. In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume I. Oxford University Press. 202-235.
    The standard analysis of supererogation is that of optional actions that are praiseworthy to perform, but not blameworthy to skip. Widespread assumptions are that action beyond the call is at least necessarily equivalent to supererogation ("The Equivalence") and that forgoing certain agent-favoring prerogatives entails supererogation (“The Corollary”). I argue that the classical conception of supererogation is not reconcilable with the Equivalence or the Corollary, and that the classical analysis of supererogation is seriously defective. I sketch an enriched conceptual scheme, “Doing (...)
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  15. Paul McNamara (1996). Must I Do What I Ought (or Will the Least I Can Do Do)? In Mark Brown & Jose' Carmo (eds.), Deontic Logic, Agency and Normative Systems. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 154-173.
    Some key pre-theoretic semantic and pragmatic phenomena that support a negative answer to the main title question are identified and a conclusion of some significance is drawn: a pervasive bipartisan presupposition of twentieth century ethical theory and deontic logic is false. Next, an intuitive model-theoretic framework for "must" and "ought" is hypothesized. It is then shown how this hypothesis helps to explain and predict all the pre-theoretic phenomena previously observed. Next, I show that the framework hypothesized possesses additional expressive and (...)
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  16. Dilip Ninan (2005). Two Puzzles About Deontic Necessity. In J. Gajewski, V. Hacquard, B. Nickel & S. Yalcin (eds.), New Work on Modality, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
    The deontic modal must has two surprising properties: an assertion of must p does not permit a denial of p, and must does not take past tense complements. I first consider an explanation of these phenomena that stays within Angelika Kratzer’s semantic framework for modals, and then offer some reasons for rejecting that explanation. I then propose an alternative account, according to which simple must sentences have the force of an imperative.
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  17. Paul Portner (2007). Imperatives and Modals. Natural Language Semantics 15 (4):351-383.
    Imperatives may be interpreted with many subvarieties of directive force, for example as orders, invitations, or pieces of advice. I argue that the range of meanings that imperatives can convey should be identified with the variety of interpretations that are possible for non-dynamic root modals (what I call ‘priority modals’), including deontic, bouletic, and teleological readings. This paper presents an analysis of the relationship between imperatives and priority modals in discourse which asserts that, just as declaratives contribute to the Common (...)
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  18. Ana Cristina Quelhas & Ruth Byrne (2003). Reasoning with Deontic and Counterfactual Conditionals. Thinking and Reasoning 9 (1):43 – 65.
    We report two new phenomena of deontic reasoning: (1) For conditionals with deontic content such as, "If the nurse cleaned up the blood then she must have worn rubber gloves", reasoners make more modus tollens inferences (from "she did not wear rubber gloves" to "she did not clean up the blood") compared to conditionals with epistemic content. (2) For conditionals in the subjunctive mood with deontic content, such as, "If the nurse had cleaned up the blood then she must have (...)
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  19. Mark Schroeder (2011). Ought, Agents, and Actions. Philosophical Review 120 (1):1 - 41.
    According to a naïve view sometimes apparent in the writings of moral philosophers, ‘ought’ often expresses a relation between agents and actions – the relation that obtains between an agent and an action when that action is what that agent ought to do. It is not part of this naïve view that ‘ought’ always expresses this relation – on the contrary, adherents of the naïve view are happy to allow that ‘ought’ also has an epistemic sense, on which it means, (...)
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  20. Aaron Sloman (1970). `Ought' and `Better'. Mind 79 (315):385-394.
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  21. William B. Starr, A Preference Semantics for Imperatives.
    There is a rich canon of work on the meaning of imperative sentences, e.g. "Dance!", in philosophy and much recent research in linguistics has made its own exciting advances. However, in this paper I argue that three observations about English imperatives are problematic for approaches from both traditions. In response, I offer a new analysis according to which the meaning of an imperative is identified with the characteristic effect its uses have on the agents’ attitudes. More specifically: an imperative’s meaning (...)
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  22. Michael Stocker (1971). 'Ought' and 'Can'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 49 (3):303 – 316.
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  23. Eric Swanson (2008). Modality in Language. Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1193-1207.
    This article discusses some of the ways in which natural language can express modal information – information which is, to a first approximation, about what could be or must be the case, as opposed to being about what actually is the case. It motivates, explains, and raises problems for Angelika Kratzer's influential theory of modal auxiliaries, and introduces a new approach to one important debate about the relationships between modality, evidentiality, context change, and imperative force.
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  24. Zoltán Gendler Szabó & Joshua Knobe (forthcoming). Modals with a Taste of the Deontic. Semantics and Pragmatics.
    The aim of this paper is to present an explanation for the impact of normative considerations on people’s assessment of certain seemingly purely descriptive matters. The explanation is based on two main claims. First, a large category of expressions are tacitly modal: they are contextually equivalent to modal proxies. Second, the interpretation of predominantly circumstantial or teleological modals is subject to certain constraints which make certain possibilities salient at the expense of others.
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  25. Sara Verbrugge & Hans Smessaert (2010). On the Argumentative Strength of Indirect Inferential Conditionals. Argumentation 24 (3):337-362.
    Inferential or epistemic conditional sentences represent a blueprint of someone’s reasoning process from premise to conclusion. Declerck and Reed (2001) make a distinction between a direct and an indirect type. In the latter type the direction of reasoning goes backwards, from the blatant falsehood of the consequent to the falsehood of the antecedent. We first present a modal reinterpretation in terms of Argumentation Schemes of indirect inferential conditionals (IIC’s) in Declerck and Reed (2001). We furthermore argue for a distinction between (...)
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  26. Kai von Fintel, How to Say Ought in Foreign: The Composition of Weak Necessity Modals.
    1 This paper has been presented at the workshop “Time and Modality: A Round Table on Tense, Mood, and Modality”, Paris, December 2005, at a CUNY linguistics colloquium in May 2006, and at the 6th Workshop on Formal Linguistics in Florian´opolis, Brazil, August 2006. We thank the audiences at those presentations, in particular Orin Percus, Tim Stowell, Marcel den Dikken, Anna Szabolcsi, Chris Warnasch, Roberta Pires de Oliveira, Renato Miguel Basso, and Ana M¨uller. We thank Noam Chomsky, Cleo Condoravdi, and (...)
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  27. Kai von Fintel, What to Do If You Want to Go to Harlem: Anankastic Conditionals and Related Matters.
    At first glance, this is an entirely unremarkable kind of sentence. It is easy to find naturally occuring exponents. Its meaning is also clear: taking the A train is a necessary condition for going to Harlem. Hence the term “anankastic conditional”, Ananke being the Greek protogonos of inevitability, compulsion and necessity.
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  28. Lee Walters (2014). Conditionals, Modals, and Hypothetical Syllogism. Thought 3 (1):90-97.
    Moti Mizrahi (2013) presents some novel counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism (HS) for indicative conditionals. I show that they are not compelling as they neglect the complicated ways in which conditionals and modals interact. I then briefly outline why HS should nevertheless be rejected.
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  29. Heinrich Wansing (1998). Nested Deontic Modalities: Another View of Parking on Highways. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 49 (2):185-199.
    A suggestion is made for representing iterated deontic modalities in stit theory, the “seeing-to-it-that” theory of agency. The formalization is such that normative sentences are represented as agentive sentences and therefore have history dependent truth conditions. In contrast to investigations in alethic modal logic, in the construction of systems of deontic logic little attention has been paid to the iteration... of the deontic modalities.
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  30. Ralph Wedgwood, Objective and Subjective 'Ought'.
    Over the years, several philosophers have argued that deontic modals, like ‘ought’ and ‘should’ in English, and their closest equivalents in other languages, are systematically polysemous and context-sensitive. Specifically, one way in which these ‘ought’-concepts differ from each other is that some of these concepts are more “objective”, while others are more “subjective” or “information-relative”: when ‘ought’ expresses one of these more objective concepts, what an agent “ought” to do in a given situation may be determined by facts that neither (...)
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  31. Ralph Wedgwood (2006). The Meaning of 'Ought'. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 1:127-160.
    In this paper, I apply the "conceptual role semantics" approach that I have proposed elsewhere (according to which the meaning of normative terms is given by their role in practical reasoning or deliberation) to the meaning of the term 'ought'. I argue that this approach can do three things: It can give an adequate explanation of the special connection that normative judgments have to practical reasoning and motivation for action. It can give an adequate account of why the central principles (...)
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  32. Stephen Yablo (2010). Permission and (So-Called Epistemic) Possibility. In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oup Oxford.
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  33. Zsófia Zvolenszky (2007). The Lost Pillar of Deontic Modality Naming with Necessity (Part of the Dissertation Portfolio Modality, Names and Descriptions). Dissertation, New York University
    This paper concerns a thorny problem posed by conditional requirements: we expect some modal conditionals of the form ‘if p, then it must be that p’ to be false, yet they all come out true given two basic assumptions needed to account for ordinary conditional requirement like ‘If the light turns red, then cars must stop’. The first assumption is a semantic expectation linking conditional requirements with absolute ones, the second is the possible-worlds-based definition of modal sentences. Keeping the former (...)
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  34. Zsófia Zvolenszky, A Semantic Constraint on the Logic of Modal Conditionals. Proceedings of the Ninth Symposium on Logic and Language (LoLa 9).
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  35. Zsófia Zvolenszky (2002). Is a Possible-Worlds Semantics of Modality Possible? A Problem for Kratzer's Semantics. Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT):339-358.
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