“Cannot” implies “not ought”

Philosophical Studies 130 (2):233 - 246 (2006)
Abstract
I argue for a version of “ought” implies “can”. In particular, I argue that it is necessarily true that if an agent, S, ultima facie ought to do A at T’, then there is a time T* such that S can at T* do A at T’. In support of this principle, I have argued that without it, we cannot explain how it is that, in cases where agents cannot do the best thing, they often ought to do some alternative action – such as get help or do the promised action later; nor can we explain the phenomenon of necessary enablers or the phenomenon of more stringent prima facie obligations overriding less stringent ones in cases where the agent cannot fulfill both.
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