One Ought Too Many

Some philosophers hold that „ought‟ is ambiguous between a sense expressing a propositional operator and a sense expressing a relation between an agent and an action. We defend the opposing view that „ought‟ always expresses a propositional operator against Mark Schroeder‟s recent objections that it cannot adequately accommodate an ambiguity in „ought‟ sentences between evaluative and deliberative readings, predicting readings of sentences that are not actually available. We show how adopting an independently well-motivated contrastivist semantics for „ought‟, according to which „ought‟ is always relativized to a contrast set of relevant alternatives, enables us to explain the evaluative-deliberative ambiguity and why the availability of these readings depends on sentential grammar
Keywords deontic modals  ought  contrastivism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2012.00646.x
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References found in this work BETA
Seth Yalcin (2011). Nonfactualism About Epistemic Modality. In Andy Egan & B. Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press

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Citations of this work BETA
Daniel Lassiter (2014). Modality, Scale Structure, and Scalar Reasoning. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):461-490.

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Similar books and articles
Mark Schroeder (2011). Ought, Agents, and Actions. Philosophical Review 120 (1):1 - 41.
Paul Portner (2007). Imperatives and Modals. Natural Language Semantics 15 (4):351-383.
Ram Neta (2008). Undermining the Case for Contrastivism. Social Epistemology 22 (3):289 – 304.

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