Kolodny and MacFarlane have made a pioneering contribution to our understanding of how the interpretation of deonticmodals can be sensitive to evidence and information. But integrating the discussion of information-sensitivity into the standard Kratzerian framework for modals suggests ways of capturing the relevant data without treating deonticmodals as “informational modals” in their sense. I show that though one such way of capturing the data within the standard semantics fails, an alternative does not. (...) Nevertheless I argue that we have good reasons to adopt an information-sensitive semantics of the general type Kolodny and MacFarlane describe. Contrary to the standard semantics, relative deontic value between possibilities sometimes depends on which possibilities are live. I develop an ordering semantics for deonticmodals that captures this point and addresses various complications introduced by integrating the discussion of information-sensitivity into the standard semantic framework. By attending to these complexities, we can also illuminate various roles that information and evidence play in logical arguments, discourse, and deliberation. (shrink)
According to a recent challenge to Kratzer's canonical contextualist semantics for deontic modal expressions, no contextualist view can make sense of cases in which such a modal must be information-sensitive in some way. Here I show how Kratzer's semantics is compatible with readings of the targeted sentences that fit with the data. I then outline a general account of how contexts select parameter values for modal expressions and show, in terms of that account, how the needed, contextualist-friendly readings might (...) plausibly get selected in the challenge cases. (shrink)
The article argues for a parallelism between the interpretation of deonticmodals and the interpretation of counterfactuals. The main claim is that dependencies between facts play a role in the resolution of both types of modality: in both cases, facts ‘stand and fall’ together. The article provides two types of evidence supporting this claim: (i) evidence that comes from the interaction between primary and secondary duties (as presented in contrary-to-duty imperatives) and (ii) evidence that comes from the possibility (...) of reproducing well-known counterfactual puzzles in the domain of deontic statements. The article argues that the semantics of deonticmodals needs to be stated in a way that pays attention to dependencies between facts and illustrates this with a proposal building on work on counterfactuals by Kratzer and Veltman. (shrink)
Probabilistic theories of “should” and “ought” face a predicament. At first blush, it seems that such theories must provide different lexical entries for the epistemic and the deontic interpretations of these modals. I show that there is a new style of premise semantics that can avoid this consequence in an attractively conservative way.
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.
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.
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, (...) roughly, that some proposition is likely to be the case, and adherents of the naïve view are also typically happy to allow that ‘ought’ also has an evaluative sense, on which it means, roughly, that were things ideal, some proposition would be the case.1 What is important to the naïve view is not that these other senses of ‘ought’ do not exist, but rather that they are not exhaustive – for what they leave out, is the important deliberative sense of ‘ought’, which is the central subject of moral inquiry about what we ought to do and why – and it is this deliberative sense of ‘ought’ which the naïve view understands to express a relation between agents and actions.2 In contrast, logically and linguistically sophisticated philosophers – with a few notable exceptions3 – have rejected this naïve view. According to a dominant perspective in the interpretation of deontic logic and in linguistic semantics, for example, articulated by Roderick Chisholm (1964) and Bernard Williams (1981) in philosophy and in the dominant paradigm in linguistic semantics as articulated in particular by.. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
In “Metaethical contextualism defended” (Ethics 121 : 7-36) Gunnar Björnsson & Stephen Finlay argue that metaethical contextualism - the view that 'ought' claims are semantically incomplete and require supplementation by parameters provided by the context in which they are uttered - can deal with two influential problems. The first concerns the connection between deliberation and advice (the 'practical integration problem'). The second concerns the way in which the expression ‘ought’ behaves in intra- and inter-contextual disagreement reports (the 'semantic assessment problem'). (...) I argue that, while Björnsson & Finlay can deal with the first problem, they can’t deal with the second. (shrink)
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 (...) express a practical (non-representational) state of mind—one concerning an agent's preferences and plans, rather than her beliefs. -/- Opposed to speech act accounts is a preponderance of views which deny that a sentence's linguistic meaning is a matter of what speech act it is used to perform, or its CDF. On such accounts, meaning is, instead, a matter of "static" properties of the sentence—e.g., how it depicts the world as being (or, more neutrally, the properties of a model-theoretic object with which the semantic value of the sentence co-varies). On one version of a static account, an imperative 'shut the window!' might, for instance, depict the world as being such that the window must be shut. -/- Static accounts are traditionally motivated against speech act-theoretic accounts by appeal to supposedly irremediable explanatory deficiencies in the latter. Whatever a static account loses in saying (prima facie counterintuitively) that an imperative conventionally represents, or expresses a picture of the world, is said to be offset by its ability to explain a variety of phenomena for which speech act-theoretic accounts are said to lack good explanations (even, in many cases, the bare ability to offer something that might meet basic criteria on what a good explanation should be like). -/- I aim to turn the tables on static accounts. I do this by showing that speech act accounts are capable of giving explanations of phenomena which fans of static accounts have alleged them unable to give. Indeed, for a variety of absolutely fundamental phenomena having to do with the conventional meaning of imperatives (and other types of practical language), speech act accounts provide natural and theoretically satisfying explanations, where a representational account provides none. (shrink)
Whereas geometrical oppositions (logical squares and hexagons) have been so far investigated in many fields of modal logic (both abstract and applied), the oppositional geometrical side of “deontic logic” (the logic of “obligatory”, “forbidden”, “permitted”, . . .) has rather been neglected. Besides the classical “deontic square” (the deontic counterpart of Aristotle’s “logical square”), some interesting attempts have nevertheless been made to deepen the geometrical investigation of the deontic oppositions: Kalinowski (La logique des normes, PUF, Paris, (...) 1972) has proposed a “deontic hexagon” as being the geometrical representation of standard deontic logic, whereas Joerden (jointly with Hruschka, in Archiv für Rechtsund Sozialphilosophie 73:1, 1987), McNamara (Mind 105:419, 1996) and Wessels (Die gute Samariterin. Zur Struktur der Supererogation, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2002) have proposed some new “deontic polygons” for dealing with conservative extensions of standard deontic logic internalising the concept of “supererogation”. Since 2004 a new formal science of the geometrical oppositions inside logic has appeared, that is “ n -opposition theory”, or “NOT”, which relies on the notion of “logical bi-simplex of dimension m ” ( m = n − 1). This theory has received a complete mathematical foundation in 2008, and since then several extensions. In this paper, by using it, we show that in standard deontic logic there are in fact many more oppositional deontic figures than Kalinowski’s unique “hexagon of norms” (more ones, and more complex ones, geometrically speaking: “deontic squares”, “deontic hexagons”, “deontic cubes”, . . ., “deontic tetraicosahedra”, . . .): the real geometry of the oppositions between deontic modalities is composed by the aforementioned structures (squares, hexagons, cubes, . . ., tetraicosahedra and hyper-tetraicosahedra), whose complete mathematical closure happens in fact to be a “deontic 5-dimensional hyper-tetraicosahedron” (an oppositional very regular solid). (shrink)
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.
On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. (...) Recently, though, the canon’s neat story has come under attack. The challenge cases involve the epistemic use of a modal sentence for which no single resolution of the contextual parameter appears capable of accommodating all our intuitions.3 According to these revisionaries, such cases show that the canonical story needs to be amended in some way that makes multiple bodies of information relevant to the assessment of such statements. Here I show that how the right canonical, flexibly contextualist account of modals can accommodate the full range of challenge cases. The key will be to extend Kratzer’s formal semantic account with an account of how context selects values for a modal’s.. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate nonnormal modal systems in the vicinity of the Lewis system S1. It might be claimed that Lewis's modal systems (S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5) are the starting point of modern modal logics. However, our interests in the Lewis systems and their relatives are not (merely) historical. They possess certain syntactical features and their frames certain structural properties that are of interest to us. Our starting point is not S1, but a weaker logic S1 (S1 (...) without the schema [T]). We extend it to S1D, which can be considered as a deontic counterpart of the alethic S1. Soundness and completeness of these systems are then demonstrated within a prenormal idiom. We conclude with some philosophical remarks on the interpretation of our deontic logic. (shrink)
Modals in St’át’imcets (Lillooet Salish) show two differences from their counterparts in English. First, they have variable quantificational force, systematically allowing both possibility and necessity interpretations; and second, they lexically restrict the conversational background, distinguishing for example between deontic and (several kinds of) epistemic modality. We provide an analysis of the St’át’imcets modals according to which they are akin to specific indefinites in the nominal domain. They introduce choice function variables which select a subset of the accessible (...) worlds. Following Klinedinst, we assume distributivity over the resulting set of worlds. St’át’imcets modals thus receive a uniform interpretation as (distributive) pluralities. The appearance of variability in modal force arises because the choice function can select a larger or smaller subset of accessible worlds. Finally, we discuss the implications of our analysis for the investigation of modal systems in other languages. (shrink)
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 requires rethinking the relationship between relevant information (what we know) and practical rankings of possibilities and actions (what to do). I argue that (i) relevant information determines whether considerations of value may be treated as reasons for actions that realize them and against actions that don’t, (ii) incorporating this normative fact requires a revision of the standard ordering semantics for weak (but not for strong) deontic necessity modals, and (iii) an off-the-shelf semantics for weak deontic necessity modals, due to von Fintel and Iatridou, which distinguishes “basic” and “higher-order” ordering sources, and interprets weak deontic necessity modals relative to both, is well-suited to this task. The prominence of normative considerations in our proposal suggests a more general methodological lesson: formal semantic analysis of natural language modals expressing normative concepts demands that close attention be paid to the nature of the underlying normative phenomena. (shrink)
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 over three versions of the semantics. We call the strongest of these logics DWE for Doing Well Enough. (shrink)
This article proposes a systematic application of recent developments in the logic of preference to a number of topics in deontic logic. The key junction is the well-known Hansson conditional for dyadic obligations. These conditionals are generalized by pairing them with reasoning about syntactic priority structures. The resulting two-level approach to obligations is tested first against standard scenarios of contrary-to-duty obligations, leading also to a generalization for the Kanger-Anderson reduction of deontic logic. Next, the priority framework is applied (...) to model two intuitively different sorts of deontic dynamics of obligations, based on information changes and on genuine normative events. In this two-level setting, we also offer novel takes on vexed issues such as the Chisholm paradox and modelling strong permission. Finally, the priority framework is shown to provide a unifying setting for the study of operations on norms as such, in particular, adding or deleting individual norms, and even merging whole norm systems in different manners. (shrink)
This paper analyzes Mally’s system of deontic logic, introduced in his The Basic Laws of Ought: Elements of the Logic of Willing (1926). We discuss Mally’s text against the background of some contributions in the literature which show that Mally’s axiomatic system for deontic logic is flawed, in so far as it derives, for an arbitrary A, the theorem “A ought to be the case if and only if A is the case”, which represents a collapse of obligation. (...) We then try to sort out and understand which axioms are responsible for the collapse and consider two ways of amending Mally’s system: (i) by changing its original underlying logical basis, that is classical logic, and (ii) by modifying Mally’s axioms. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to develop a class of semantic tableau systems for some dyadic deontic logics. We will consider 16 different pure dyadic deontic tableau systems and 32 different alethic dyadic deontic tableau systems. Possible world semantics is used to interpret our formal languages. Some relationships between our systems and well known dyadic deontic logics in the literature are pointed out and soundness results are obtained for every tableau system. Completeness results are obtained (...) for all 16 pure dyadic deontic systems and for 16 alethic dyadic deontic systems. (shrink)
I describe /mindset semantics/, a semantical framework built around a conception of entailment as preservation of /support/ (implicit acceptance undergirded by competence) together with a /classical modal/ semantics for declarative sentences---with the central application of showing how a language could integrate discourse that is expressive with discourse that is informative (namely, of solving the 'Frege-Geach problem'). (The approach owes much to the work of Veltman and Yalcin, and, less proximally, of Stalnaker.) I provide a range of philosophical, technical, and pedagogical (...) arguments for mindset semantics. And I apply mindset semantics to as wide a range of phenomena as I have been able to think of (some more familiar, others less familiar): epistemic modals, avowals of belief, avowals of what it's like, /ascriptions/ of all these, 'looks'-sentences, avowals of presumption, avowals of subjective credence and statements of objective chance, indicative and subjunctive conditionals, conditional probability, deonticmodals, questions, avowals of wonderment, metaphysical modals, metaphysical indeterminacy, avowals and ascriptions of knowledge, 'ought'-claims, and avowals of various practical positions (intending, trying, needing). (shrink)
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 semantics of norm performatives as transformations of the norm system. Then a static modal logic for norm propositions is defined on that basis. In the course of this exposition we stress the performative nature of (i) free choice permission, (ii) the sealing legal principle and (iii) the social nature of permission. That is, (i) granting a disjunctive permission means granting permission for both disjuncts; (ii) non-prohibition does not entail permission, but the authority can declare that whatever he does not forbid is thereby permitted; and (iii) granting permission to one person means that all others are committed to not prevent the invocation of that permission. (shrink)
In this paper we present an executable approach to model interactions between agents that involve sensitive, privacy-related information. The approach is formal and based on deontic, epistemic and action logic. It is conceptually related to the Belief-Desire-Intention model of Bratman. Our approach uses the concept of sphere as developed by Waltzer to capture the notion that information is provided mostly with restrictions regarding its application. We use software agent technology to create an executable approach. Our agents hold beliefs about (...) the world, have goals and commitment to the goals. They have the capacity to reason about different courses of action, and communicate with one another. The main new ingredient of our approach is the idea to model information itself as an intentional agent whose main goal it is to preserve the integrity of the information and regulate its dissemination. We demonstrate our approach by applying it to an important process in the insurance industry: applying for a life insurance. In this paper we will: (1) describe the challenge organizational complexity poses in moral reasoning about informational relationships; (2) propose an executable approach, using software agents with reasoning capacities grounded in modal logic, in which moral constraints on informational relatio nships can be modeled and investigated; (3) describe the details of our approach, in which information itself is modeled as an intentional agent in its own right; (4) test and validate it by applying it to a concrete ‘hard case’ from the insurance industry; and (5) conclude that our approach upholds and offers potential for both research and practical application. (shrink)
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 Ground and thus provide information relevant to the interpretation of epistemic modals in subsequent discourse, imperatives contribute to another component of the discourse context, the addressee’s To-Do List, which serves as a contextual resource for the interpretation of priority modals. This analysis predicts that the interpretation of imperatives and modals in discourse is constrained in surprising ways; these predictions are borne out. (shrink)
This paper investigates some aspects of the semantics of deontic should-conditionals. The main objective is to understand which actual world facts make deontic statements true. The starting point for the investigation is a famous puzzle known as Chisholm’s Paradox. It is important because making sense of the data in Chisholm-style examples involves arriving at some conclusion regarding the interaction between what we consider ideal and what is actually true. I give an account of how facts affect the evaluation (...) of should formulated in a way that does not predict that the divergence between ideals and facts leads to contradictions. The proposed semantics for should and should-conditionals allows for factual detachment without giving rise to paradoxes. The proposal has several parts: a situation-based semantics for the modal should, a view of the propositions embedded under should that allows aspect to play a crucial role in anchoring propositions to the context set, and a proposal for if-clauses that distinguishes between epistemic if-clauses and if-clauses in the scope of should, treating the latter as restrictors on the quantificational domain of the modal. (shrink)
In this paper I will be concerned with the question as to whether expressivist theories of meaning can coherently be combined with deflationist theories of truth. After outlining what I take expressivism to be and what I take deflationism about truth to be, I’ll explain why I don’t take the general version of this question to be very hard, and why the answer is ‘yes’. Having settled that, I’ll move on to what I take to be a more pressing and (...) interesting version of the question, arising from a prima facie tension between deflationism about truth and the motivations underlying expressivism for what I take to be two of its most promising applications: to indicative conditionals and epistemic modals. Here I’ll argue that the challenge is substantive, but that there is no conceptual obstacle to its being met, provided that one’s expressivism takes the right form. (shrink)
Epistemic modals in consequent place of indicative conditionals give rise to apparent counterexamples to Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens. Familiar assumptions of fa- miliar truth conditional theories of modality facilitate a prima facie explanation—viz., that the target cases harbor epistemic modal equivocations. However, these explana- tions go too far. For they foster other predictions of equivocation in places where in fact there are no equivocations. It is argued here that the key to the solution is to drop the assumption (...) that modal claims are inherently relational (i.e., that they ex- press a logical relation between a prejacent and a premise-set) in favor of a view that treats them as inherently quantificational. In particular it is suggested that modals are mass noun descriptions of information. We demonstrate how this approach unlocks the equivocation problem. (shrink)
In “Epistemic Modals,” Seth Yalcin argues that what explains the deficiency of sentences containing epistemic modals of the form ‘p and it might be that not-p’ is that sentences of this sort are strictly contradictory, and thus are not instances of a Moore-paradox as has been previous suggested. Benjamin Schnieder, however, argues in his Yalcin’s explanation of these sentences’ deficiency turns out to be insufficiently general, as it cannot account for less complex but still defective sentences, such as (...) ‘Suppose it might be raining.’ Consequently, Schnieder proposes his own, expressivist treatment of epistemic modals which he thinks can explain the deficiency of both the original sentence type as well as more complex cases of embedded sentences containing epistemic modals. In this study, I argue that although Schnieder is right to draw our attention to the explanatory failure of Yalcin’s account, we aren’t forced to adopt Schnieder’s expressivist account of epistemic modals. I defend instead a contextualist-friendly alternative which explains the deficiencies of all the relevant sentence types, while avoiding both the defects of Yalcin’s account and the intuitive costs of expressivism. (shrink)
Recently, Yalcin (Epistemic modals. Mind, 116 , 983–1026, 2007) put forward a novel account of epistemic modals. It is based on the observation that sentences of the form ‘ & Might ’ do not embed under ‘suppose’ and ‘if’. Yalcin concludes that such sentences must be contradictory and develops a notion of informational consequence which validates this idea. I will show that informational consequence is inadequate as an account of the logic of epistemic modals: it cannot deal (...) with reasoning from uncertain premises. Finally, I offer an alternative way of explaining the relevant linguistic data. (shrink)
This paper presents and discusses a range of counterexamples to the common view that quantifiers cannot take scope over epistemic modals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for ‘force modifier’ theories of epistemic modals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for Robert Stalnaker’s theory of counterfactuals, according to which a special kind of epistemic modal must be able to scope over a whole counterfactual. Finally, some of the counterexamples suggest that David Lewis must countenance ‘would’ counterfactuals in which (...) a covert ‘would’ scopes over the whole consequent of the counterfactual, including an overt ‘might.’. (shrink)
In this paper, partly historical and partly theoretical, after having shortly outlined the development of the meta-ethics in the 1900?s starting from the Tractatus of Wittgenstein, I argue it is possible to sustain that emotivism and intuitionism are unsatisfactory ethical conceptions, while on the contrary, reason (intended in a logical-deductive sense) plays an effective role both in ethical discussions and in choices. There are some characteristics of the ethical language (prescriptivity, universalizability and predominance) that cannot be eluded (pain the non (...) significativity of the same language) by those who want to morally reason, i.e. by those who intend to regulate their own behaviour on the basis of knowledged and coherent principles. These characteristics can be found whether or not all possible ontological-metaphysics foundations of morals are taken into account. Furthermore the deontic logic systems allow the formalization of ethical theories and - at least in principle - a rigorous critical discussion of the same, but obviously nothing can be affirmed on the value of truth of the axioms of a system. In the deontic logic systems Hume?s law is assumed as an implicit result of inferential (conventional) rules and the acceptance of Hume?s law as a logical-linguistic thesis does not involve the cancellation of values (nihilism) or ethical relativism or indifferentism. (shrink)
In his original semantics for counterfactuals, David Lewis presupposed that the ordering of worlds relevant to the evaluation of a counterfactual admitted no incomparability between worlds. He later came to abandon this assumption. But the approach to incomparability he endorsed makes counterintuitive predictions about a class of examples circumscribed in this paper. The same underlying problem is present in the theories of modals and conditionals developed by Bas van Fraassen, Frank Veltman, and Angelika Kratzer. I show how to reformulate (...) all these theories in terms of lower bounds on partial preorders, conceived of as maximal antichains, and I show that treating lower bounds as cutsets does strictly better at capturing our intuitions about the semantics of modals, counterfactuals, and deontic conditionals. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that epistemic modals admit of inter-subjective flexibility. This paper introduces intra-subjective flexibility for epistemic modals and draws on this flexibility to argue that fallibilism is consistent with the standard account of epistemic modals.
The author contends that moral utterances and imperatives have different logical features. He discusses r m hare's "language of morals" in terms of his distinction between plain imperatives and deontic utterances. (staff).
Situationist deontic logic is a model of that fraction of normative discourse which refers to only one situation and one set of alternatives. As we can see from a whole series of well-known paradoxes, standard deontic logic (SDL) is seriously mistaken even at the situationist level. In this paper it is shown how a more realistic deontic logic can be based on the assumption that prescriptive predicates satisfy the property of contranegativity. A satisfactory account of situation-specific norms (...) is a necessary prerequisite for a successful treatment of more complex normative structures. (shrink)
Introduction -- Instrumental rationality -- Social order -- Deontic constraint -- Intentional states -- Preference noncognitivism -- A naturalistic perspective -- Transcendental necessity -- Weakness of will -- Normative ethics.
We present the inconsistency-adaptive deontic logic DP r , a nonmonotonic logic for dealing with conflicts between normative statements. On the one hand, this logic does not lead to explosion in view of normative conflicts such as O A ∧ O ∼A, O A ∧ P ∼A or even O A ∧ ∼O A. On the other hand, DP r still verifies all intuitively reliable inferences valid in Standard Deontic Logic (SDL). DP r interprets a given premise set (...) ‘as normally as possible’ with respect to SDL. Whereas some SDL-rules are verified unconditionally by DP r , others are verified conditionally. The latter are applicable unless they rely on formulas that turn out to behave inconsistently in view of the premises. This dynamic process is mirrored by the proof theory of DP r. (shrink)
John Horty effectively develops deontic logic (the logic of ethical concepts like obligation and permission) against the background of a formal theory of agency. He incorporates certain elements of decision theory to set out a new deontic account of what agents ought to do under various conditions over extended periods of time. Offering a conceptual rather than technical emphasis, Horty's framework allows a number of recent issues from moral theory to be set out clearly and discussed from a (...) uniform point of view. (shrink)
There seems to be no clear consensus in the existing literature about the role of deontic logic in legal knowledge representation — in large part, we argue, because of an apparent misunderstanding of what deontic logic is, and a misplaced preoccupation with the surface formulation of legislative texts. Our aim in this paper is to indicate, first, which aspects of legal reasoning are addressed by deontic logic, and then to sketch out the beginnings of a methodology for (...) its use in the analysis and representation of law.The essential point for which we argue is that deontic logic — in some form or other —needs to be taken seriously whenever it is necessary to make explicit, and then reason about, the distinction between what ought to be the case and what is the case, or as we also say, between the ideal and the actual. We take the library regulations at Imperial College as the main illustration, and small examples from genuinely legal domains to introduce specific points. In conclusion, we touch on the role of deontic logic in the development of the theory of normative positions. (shrink)
In 1926, Ernst Mally proposed a number of deontic postulates. He added them as axioms to classical propositional logic. The resulting system was unsatisfactory because it had the consequence that A is the case if and only if it is obligatory that A. We present an intuitionistic reformulation of Mally’s deontic logic. We show that this system does not provide the just-mentioned objectionable theorem while most of the theorems that Mally considered acceptable are still derivable. The resulting system (...) is unacceptable as a deontic logic, but it does make sense as a lax logic in the modern sense of the word. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore semantics for comparative epistemic modals that avoid the entailment problems shown to result from Kratzer’s (1991) semantics by Yalcin (2006, 2009, 2010). In contrast to the alternative semantics presented by Yalcin and Lassiter (2010, 2011), based on finitely additive probability measures, we introduce semantics based on qualitatively additive measures, as well as semantics based on purely qualitative orderings, including orderings on propositions derived from orderings on worlds in the tradition of Kratzer (1991). All of (...) these semantics avoid the entailment problems that result from Kratzer’s semantics. Our discussion focuses on methodological issues concerning the choice between different semantics. (shrink)