Is Imperative Inference Impossible? The Argument from Permissive Presuppositions

In James Maclaurin (ed.), Rationis Defensor (2012)
Abstract
Standard definitions of validity are designed to preserve truth from the premises to the conclusion. However, it seems possible to construct arguments that contain sentences in the imperative mood. Such sentences are incapable of being true or false, so the standard definitions cannot capture the validity of these imperative arguments. Bernard Williams offers an argument that imperative inference is impossible: two imperatives will always have different permissive presuppositions, so a speaker will have to change his mind before uttering a second imperative, and so imperatives cannot ever be accumulated into a set of premises. I offer four objections to Williams’ argument: (1) Permissive presuppositions are analogous to conversational implicature, and so should be ignored when formulating imperative arguments. (2) There are other valid argument forms, which Williams does not consider, that do not suffer from different permissive presuppositions. (3) There are explanations for the change in permissive presuppositions in Williams’ example other than a change of mind, so the different permissive presuppositions do not have to prevent accumulation. Finally, (4) Williams accepts enough logical relations between imperatives (contradiction and a form of negation) for a definition of a valid imperative inference to follow naturally.
Keywords Validity  Imperatives  Permissive Presuppositions
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,819
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Peter B. M. Vranas (2010). In Defense of Imperative Inference. Journal of Philosophical Logic 39 (1):59 - 71.
Josh Parsons (2013). Command and Consequence. Philosophical Studies 164 (1):61-92.
Rosja Mastop (2011). Imperatives as Semantic Primitives. Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (4):305-340.
Anna Brożek (2011). Performatives and Imperatives. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7 (2):17-34.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-06-19

Total downloads

4 ( #264,398 of 1,099,914 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #304,017 of 1,099,914 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.