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Profile: Paul McNamara
Profile: Paul McNamara (University of New Hampshire, Durham)
  1. Paul McNamara (2011). Praise, Blame, Obligation, and DWE: Toward a Framework for the Classical Conception of Supererogation and Kin. Journal of Applied Logic 9:153–170.
    Continuing prior work by the author, a simple classical system for personal obligation is integrated with a fairly rich system for aretaic (agent-evaluative) appraisal. I then explore various relationships between definable aretaic statuses such as praiseworthiness and blameworthiness and deontic statuses such as obligatoriness and impermissibility. I focus on partitions of the normative statuses generated ("normative positions" but without explicit representation of agency). In addition to being able to model and explore fundamental questions in ethical theory about the connection between (...)
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  2. 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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  3. Paul McNamara (2011). Symposium on the Work of Christine M. Korsgaard: Introduction. Metaphilosophy 42 (4):349-352.
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  4. Paul McNamara, Deontic Logic. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  5. Paul McNamara (2006). Deontic Logic. In Dov Gabbay & John Woods (eds.), The Handbook of the History of Logic, vol. 7: Logic and the Modalities in the Twentieth Century. Elsevier Press. 197-288.
    Overview of fundamental work in deontic logic.
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  6. Paul McNamara (2004). Agential Obligation as Non-Agential Personal Obligation Plus Agency. Journal of Applied Logic 2:117-152.
    I explore various ways of integrating the framework for predeterminism, agency, and ability in[P.McNamara, Nordic J. Philos. Logic 5 (2)(2000) 135] with a framework for obligations. However,the agential obligation operator explored here is defined in terms of a non-agential yet personal obligation operator and a non-deontic (and non-normal) agency operator. This is contrary to the main current trend, which assumes statements of personal obligation always take agential complements. Instead, I take the basic form to be an agent’s being obligated to (...)
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  7. Paul McNamara (2004). Review: Agency and Deontic Logic. [REVIEW] Mind 113 (449):179-185.
  8. Paul McNamara (2000). Toward a Framework for Agency, Inevitability, Praise and Blame. Nordic Journal of Philosophical Logic 5 (2):135-159.
    There is little work of a systematic nature in ethical theory or deontic logic on aretaic notions such as praiseworthiness and blameworthiness, despite their centrality to common-sense morality. Without more work, there is little hope of filling the even larger gap of attempting to develop frameworks integrating such aretaic concepts with deontic concepts of common-sense morality, such as what is obligatory, permissible, impermissible, or supererogatory. It is also clear in the case of aretaic concepts that agency is central to such (...)
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  9. Paul McNamara (1998). Doing Well Enough in an Andersonian-Kangerian Framework. In Paul McNamara & Henry Prakken (eds.), Norms, Logics and Information Systems: New Studies on Deontic Logic and Computer Science. IOS Press. 181-198.
    I recast the DWE ("Doing Well Enough") deontic framework as an Andersonian-Kangerian modal framework and explore its metatheory systematically.
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  10. Paul McNamara & Henry Prakken (eds.) (1998). Norms, Logics and Information Systems: New Studies on Deontic Logic and Computer Science. IOS Press.
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  11. Edwin D. Mares & Paul McNamara (1997). Supererogation in Deontic Logic: Metatheory for DWE and Some Close Neighbours. [REVIEW] Studia Logica 59 (3):397-415.
    In "Doing Well Enough: Toward a Logic for Common Sense Morality", Paul McNamara sets out a semantics for a deontic logic which contains the operator It is supererogatory that. As well as having a binary accessibility relation on worlds, that semantics contains a relative ordering relation, . For worlds u, v and w, we say that u w v when v is at least as good as u according to the standards of w. In this paper we axiomatize logics complete (...)
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  12. Paul McNamara (1996). Doing Well Enough: Toward a Logic for Common-Sense Morality. Studia Logica 57 (1):167 - 192.
    On the traditional deontic framework, what is required (what morality demands) and what is optimal (what morality recommends) can't be distinguished and hence they can't both be represented. Although the morally optional can be represented, the supererogatory (exceeding morality's demands), one of its proper subclasses, cannot be. The morally indifferent, another proper subclass of the optional-one obviously disjoint from the supererogatory-is also not representable. Ditto for the permissibly suboptimal and the morally significant. Finally, the minimum that morality allows finds no (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Paul McNamara (1996). Making Room for Going Beyond the Call. Mind 105 (419):415-450.
    In the latter half of this century, there have been two mostly separate <span class='Hi'>threads</span> within ethical theory, one on 'superogation', one on 'common-sense morality'. I bring these <span class='Hi'>threads</span> together by systematically reflecting on doing more than one has to do. A rich and coherent set of concepts at the core of common-sense morality is identified, along with various logical connections between these core concepts. Various issues in common-sense morality emerge naturally, as does a demonstrably productive definition of doing (...)
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  15. Paul McNamara (1995). The Confinement Problem: How to Terminate Your Mom with Her Trust. Analysis 55 (4):310 - 313.
    Cliff Landesman provides a vivid description of a case where we have no best outcome available to us. He poses this as a problem for utilitarians who advise us to do the best we can. This does indeed make such advice impractical. I begin by contrasting older versions of utilitarianism with newer ones that have appeared in deontic logic and that were designed precisely to accommodate Landesman's sort of scenario. (I cast matters in terms of the Limit Assumption and world-theoretic (...)
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  16. Paul McNamara (1993). Comments on Can Intelligence Be Artificial? Philosophical Studies 71 (2):217-222.
    Doubts are raised about Dretske’s assumption that an entity can't have a representational state that governs its behavior in virtue of its content unless that internal state has been acquired via appropriate interaction with its environment. The doubts hinge on a subtle distinction between a system's acquiring an internal representational state and a system's internal state acquiring the property of being representational. Employing this distinction, it is suggested that we can pre-load machines with states "destined" to acquire specific, predictable and (...)
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  17. Paul McNamara (1993). Does the Actual World Actually Exist? Philosophical Studies 69 (1):59 - 81.
    Assuming minimal fine-individuation--that there are some necessarily equivalent intensional objects (e.g. propositions) that are nonetheless distinct objects, on standard actualist frameworks, the answer to our title question is "No". First I specify a fully cognitively accessible, purely qualitative maximal consistent state of affairs (MCS). (That there is an MCS that is either fully graspable or purely qualitative is in itself quite contrary to conventional dogma.) Then I identify another MCS, one necessarily equivalent to the first. It follows that there could (...)
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  18. Paul McNamara (1990). Leibniz on Creation, Contingency and Pe-Se Modality. Studia Leibnitiana 22 (1):29-47.
    Leibniz' first problem with contingency stems from his doctrine of divine creation (not his later doctrine of truth) and is solved via his concepts of necessity per se, etc. (not via his later concept of infinite analysis). I scrutinize some of the earliest texts in which the first problem and its solution occur. I compare his "per se modal concepts" with his concept of analysis and with the traditional concept of metaphysical necessity. I then identify and remove the main obstacle (...)
     
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