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  1. Counterfactual-Style Revisions in the Semantics of Deontic Modals.Ana Arregui - 2011 - Journal of Semantics 28 (2):171-210.
    The article argues for a parallelism between the interpretation of deontic modals 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 (...)
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  2. 'Must', 'Ought' and the Structure of Standards.Gunnar Björnsson & Robert Shanklin - 2014 - In Fabrizio Cariani, Davide Grossi, Joke Meheus & Xavier Parent (eds.), Deontic Logic and Normative Systems. Springer. pp. 33–48.
    This paper concerns the semantic difference between strong and weak neces-sity modals. First we identify a number of explananda: their well-known in-tuitive difference in strength between ‘must’ and ‘ought’ as well as differ-ences in connections to probabilistic considerations and acts of requiring and recommending. Here we argue that important extant analyses of the se-mantic differences, though tailored to account for some of these aspects, fail to account for all. We proceed to suggest that the difference between ’ought’ and ’must’ lies (...)
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  3. Justification as Faultlessness.Beddor Bob - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):901-926.
    According to deontological approaches to justification, we can analyze justification in deontic terms. In this paper, I try to advance the discussion of deontological approaches by applying recent insights in the semantics of deontic modals. Specifically, I use the distinction between weak necessity modals and strong necessity modals to make progress on a question that has received surprisingly little discussion in the literature, namely: ‘What’s the best version of a deontological approach?’ The two most obvious hypotheses are the Permissive View, (...)
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  4. The Language of Reasons and 'Ought'.Aaron Bronfman & J. L. Dowell - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons.
  5. Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L. - manuscript
  6. Deontic Modals and Probability: One Theory to Rule Them All?Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantic framework for deontic modals. The framework is designed to shed light on two things: the relationship between deontic modals and substantive theories of practical rationality and the interaction of deontic modals with conditionals, epistemic modals and probability operators. I argue that, in order to model inferential connections between deontic modals and probability operators, we need more structure than is provided by classical intensional theories. In particular, we need probabilistic structure that interacts directly (...)
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  7. Consequence and Contrast in Deontic Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (8):396-416.
    Contrastivists view ought-sentences as expressing comparisons among alternatives. Deontic actualists believe that the value of each alternative in such a comparison is determined by what would actually happen if that alternative were to be the case. One of the arguments that motivates actualism is a challenge to the principle of agglomeration over conjunction—the principle according to which if you ought to run and you ought to jump, then you ought to run and jump. I argue that there is no way (...)
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  8. Attitudes, Deontics and Semantic Neutrality.Fabrizio Cariani - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):491-511.
    It has been recently suggested that a semantic theory for deontic modals should be neutral between a very large range of normative and evaluative theories. This article aims to clarify this talk of neutrality, in particular its scope and motivation. My thesis is that neutrality is best understood as an empirical thesis about a fragment of natural language that includes deontic modals – not as a new, sui generis methodological constraint on natural language semantics.
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  9. 'Ought' and Resolution Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):534-558.
    I motivate and characterize an intensional semantics for ‘ought’ on which it does not behave as a universal quantifier over possibilities. My motivational argument centers on taking at face value some standard challenges to the quantificational semantics, especially to the idea that ‘ought’-sentences satisfy the principle of Inheritance. I argue that standard pragmatic approaches to these puzzles are either not sufficiently detailed or unconvincing.
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  10. The If P, Ought P Problem.Jennifer Carr - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):555-583.
    Kratzer semantics for modals and conditionals generates the prediction that sentences of the form if p, ought p are trivially true. As Frank and Zvolenszky show, for certain flavors of modality, like deontic modality, this prediction is false. I explain some conservative solutions to the problem, and then argue that they are inadequate to account for puzzle cases involving self-frustrating oughts. These cases illustrate a general problem: there are two forms of information-sensitivity in deontic modals. Even generalizations of Kratzer semantics (...)
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  11. Clause-Type, Force, and Normative Judgment in the Semantics of Imperatives.Nate Charlow - forthcoming - In Daniel Fogal Daniel Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press.
    I argue that imperatives express contents that are both cognitively and semantically related to, but nevertheless distinct from, modal propositions. Imperatives, on this analysis, semantically encode features of planning that are modally specified. Uttering an imperative amounts to tokening this feature in discourse, and thereby proffering it for adoption by the audience. This analysis deals smoothly with the problems afflicting Portner's Dynamic Pragmatic account and Kaufmann's Modal account. It also suggests an appealing reorientation of clause-type theorizing, in which the cognitive (...)
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  12. Decision Theory: Yes! Truth Conditions: No!Nate Charlow - 2016 - In Nate Charlow Matthew Chrisman (ed.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This essay makes the case for, in the phrase of Angelika Kratzer, packing the fruits of the study of rational decision-making into our semantics for deontic modals—specifically, for parametrizing the truth-condition of a deontic modal to things like decision problems and decision theories. Then it knocks it down. While the fundamental relation of the semantic theory must relate deontic modals to things like decision problems and theories, this semantic relation cannot be intelligibly understood as representing the conditions under which a (...)
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  13. Prospects for an Expressivist Theory of Meaning.Nate Charlow - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-43.
    Advocates of Expressivism about basically any kind of language are best-served by abandoning a traditional content-centric approach to semantic theorizing, in favor of an update-centric or dynamic approach (or so this paper argues). The type of dynamic approach developed here — in contrast to the content-centric approach — is argued to yield canonical, if not strictly classical, "explanations" of the core semantic properties of the connectives. (The cases on which I focus most here are negation and disjunction.) I end the (...)
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  14. The Meaning of Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (8):540-555.
    This article surveys a range of current views on the semantics of imperatives, presenting them as more or less conservative with respect to the Truth-Conditional Paradigm in semantics. It describes and critiques views at either extreme of this spectrum: accounts on which the meaning of an imperative is a modal truth-condition, as well as various accounts that attempt to explain imperative meaning without making use of truth-conditions. It briefly describes and encourages further work on a family of views lying somewhere (...)
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  15. What We Know and What to Do.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2291-2323.
    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 (...)
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  16. Conditional Preferences and Practical Conditionals.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (6):463-511.
    I argue that taking the Practical Conditionals Thesis seriously demands a new understanding of the semantics of such conditionals. Practical Conditionals Thesis: A practical conditional [if A][ought] expresses B’s conditional preferability given A Paul Weirich has argued that the conditional utility of a state of affairs B on A is to be identified as the degree to which it is desired under indicative supposition that A. Similarly, exploiting the PCT, I will argue that the proper analysis of indicative practical conditionals (...)
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  17. Practical Language: Its Meaning and Use.Nate Charlow - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    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 (...)
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  18. Restricting and Embedding Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2010 - In M. Aloni, H. Bastiaanse, T. de Jager & K. Schulz (eds.), Logic, Language, and Meaning: Selected Papers from the 17th Amsterdam Colloquium. Springer.
    We use imperatives to refute a naïve analysis of update potentials (force-operators attaching to sentences), arguing for a dynamic analysis of imperative force as restrictable, directed, and embeddable. We propose a dynamic, non-modal analysis of conditional imperatives, as a counterpoint to static, modal analyses. Our analysis retains Kratzer's analysis of if-clauses as restrictors of some operator, but avoids typing it as a generalized quantifier over worlds (against her), instead as a dynamic force operator. Arguments for a restrictor treatment (but against (...)
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  19. Imperative Statics and Dynamics.Nate Charlow - 2009 - Dissertation, University of Michigan, Candidacy Paper
    Imperatives are linguistic devices used by an authority (speaker) to express wishes, requests, commands, orders, instructions, and suggestions to a subject (addressee). This essay's goal is to tentatively address some of the following questions about the imperative. -/- METASEMANTIC. What is the menu of options for understanding fundamental semantic notions like satisfaction, truth-conditions, validity, and entailment in the context of imperatives? Are there good imperative arguments, and, if so, how are they to be characterized? What are the options for understanding (...)
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  20. 'Ought' and Control.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):433-451.
    Ethical theorists often assume that the verb ?ought? means roughly ?has an obligation?; however, this assumption is belied by the diversity of ?flavours? of ought-sentences in English. A natural response is that ?ought? is ambiguous. However, this response is incompatible with the standard treatment of ?ought? by theoretical semanticists, who classify ?ought? as a member of the family of modal verbs, which are treated uniformly as operators. To many ethical theorists, however, this popular treatment in linguistics seems to elide an (...)
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  21. On the Meaning of 'Ought'.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 304.
    Discussions about the meaning of the word “ought” are pulled in two apparently competing directions. First, in ethical theory this word is used in the paradigmatic statement of ethical principles and conclusions about what some agent is obligated to do. This leads some ethical theorists to claim that the word “ought” describes a real relation, roughly, of being obligated to (realism) or expresses some non-cognitive attitude toward agents acting in certain ways (expressivism). Second, in theoretical linguistics this word is classified (...)
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  22. Truth-Assessment Methodology and the Case Against the Relativist Case Against Contextualism About Deontic Modals.J. L. Dowell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):325-357.
    Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of (...)
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  23. Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay.J. L. Dowell - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):585-593.
  24. Flexible Contextualism About Deontic Modals: A Puzzle About Information-Sensitivity.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2013 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178.
    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 (...)
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  25. Contextualist Solutions to Three Puzzles About Practical Conditionals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 7. Oxford University Press.
  26. 'Ought': OUT OF ORDER.Stephen Finlay - 2016 - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper argues that the innovation of an ordering source parameter in the standard Lewis-Kratzer semantics for modals was a mistake, at least for English auxiliaries like ‘ought’, and that a simpler dyadic semantics (as proposed in my earlier work) provides a superior account of normative uses of modals. I programmatically investigate problems arising from (i) instrumental conditionals, (ii) gradability and “weak necessity”, (iii) information-sensitivity, and (iv) conflicts, and show how the simpler semantics provides intuitive solutions given three basic moves: (...)
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  27. Following the Rules: Practical Reasoning and Deontic Constraint.Joseph Heath - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    Introduction -- Instrumental rationality -- Social order -- Deontic constraint -- Intentional states -- Preference noncognitivism -- A naturalistic perspective -- Transcendental necessity -- Weakness of will -- Normative ethics.
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  28. Obligation and Aspect.Benj Hellie - 2016 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):398-449.
    ‘Fred must open the door’ concerns Fred’s obligations. This obligative meaning is turned off by adding aspect: ‘Fred must have opened/be opening/have been opening the door’ are one and all epistemic. Why? In a nutshell: obligative ’must’ operates on procedural contents of imperative sentences, epistemic ‘must’ on propositional contents of declarative sentences; and adding aspect converts procedural into propositional content.
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  29. Rationalization and the Ross Paradox.Benj Hellie - 2016 - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press. pp. 283--323.
    'Post this letter!' does not entail 'Post this letter or drink up my wine!' (the Ross Paradox) because one can be in a state with the content of the former without being in a state with the content of the latter; in turn, because the latter can rationalize drinking up my wine but the former cannot; in turn, because practical rationalization flows toward one's present situation, in contrast with the flow of theoretical rationalization from one's present situation. Formally, this is (...)
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  30. Oughts, Options, and Actualism.Frank Jackson & Robert Pargetter - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):233-255.
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  31. The Mental Model Theory of Conditionals: A Reply to Guy Politzer.Philip N. Johnson-Laird, Ruth M. J. Byrne & Vittorio Girotto - 2009 - Topoi 28 (1):75-80.
    This paper replies to Politzer’s ( 2007 ) criticisms of the mental model theory of conditionals. It argues that the theory provides a correct account of negation of conditionals, that it does not provide a truth-functional account of their meaning, though it predicts that certain interpretations of conditionals yield acceptable versions of the ‘paradoxes’ of material implication, and that it postulates three main strategies for estimating the probabilities of conditionals.
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  32. Ought' and 'Must.Andrew J. I. Jones & Ingmar Pörn - 1986 - Synthese 66 (1):89 - 93.
  33. Free Choice Permission.Hans Kamp - 1973 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74:57 - 74.
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  34. Ifs and Oughts.Niko Kolodny & John MacFarlane - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (3):115-143.
    We consider a paradox involving indicative conditionals (‘ifs’) and deontic modals (‘oughts’). After considering and rejecting several standard options for resolv- ing the paradox—including rejecting various premises, positing an ambiguity or hidden contextual sensitivity, and positing a non-obvious logical form—we offer a semantics for deontic modals and indicative conditionals that resolves the paradox by making modus ponens invalid. We argue that this is a result to be welcomed on independent grounds, and we show that rejecting the general validity of modus (...)
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  35. A New Semantics for First-Order Logic, Multivalent and Mostly Intensional.Hugues Leblanc - 1984 - Topoi 3 (1):55-62.
  36. The Relativity of Evaluative Sentences: Disagreeing Over Disagreement.Justina Díaz Legaspe - 2013 - Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia 54 (127):211-226.
    Evaluative sentences (moral judgments, expressions of taste, epistemic modals) are relative to the speaker's standards. Lately, a phenomenon has challenged the traditional explanation of this relativity: whenever two speakers disagree over them they contradict each other without being at fault. Hence, it is thought that the correction of the assertions involved must be relative to an unprivileged standard not necessarily the speaker's. I will claim instead that so far, neither this nor any other proposal has provided an explanation of the (...)
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  37. A Problem About Permission.David Lewis - 1979 - In Esa Saarinen, Risto Hilpinen, Illka Niiniluoto & Merrill Provence (eds.), Essays in Honour of Jaakko Hintikka on the Occasion of His Fiftieth Birthday on January 12, 1979. Reidel. pp. 163-175.
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  38. Why We Need a Relevant Theory of Conditionals.Edwin D. Mares - 1994 - Topoi 13 (1):31-36.
    This paper presents ConR (Conditional R), a logic of conditionals based on Anderson and Belnap''s system R. A Routley-Meyer-style semantics for ConR is given for the system (the completeness of ConR over this semantics is proved in E. Mares and A. Fuhrmann, A Relevant Theory of Conditionals (unpublished MS)). Moreover, it is argued that adopting a relevant theory of conditionals will improve certain theories that utilize conditionals, i.e. Lewis'' theory of causation, Lewis'' dyadic deontic logic, and Chellas'' dyadic deontic logic.
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  39. Norm Performatives and Deontic Logic.Rosja Mastop - 2011 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7 (2):83-105.
    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 (...)
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  40. Supererogation, Inside and Out: Toward an Adequate Scheme for Common Sense Morality.Paul McNamara - 2011 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume I. Oxford University Press. pp. 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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  41. Must I Do What I Ought (or Will the Least I Can Do Do)?Paul McNamara - 1996 - In Mark Brown & Jose' Carmo (eds.), Deontic Logic, Agency and Normative Systems. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. pp. 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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  42. Nominalizations: The Case of Nominalizations of Modal Predicates.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Lisa Matthewson, Cécile Meier, Hotze Rullman & Thomas Ede Zimmermann (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Semantics. Wiley.
    Nominalizations of modal predicates have received little, if any, attention in the semantic or philosophical literature. This paper will argue that nominalizations of modal predicates require recognizing a novel ontological category of modal objects and it will outline a new semantics of modals based on modal objects.
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  43. Cognitive Products and the Semantics of Attitude Verbs and Deontic Modals.Friederike Moltmann - 2017 - In Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.), Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 254-290.
    This paper outlines a semantic account of attitude reports and deontic modals based on cognitive and illocutionary products, mental states, and modal products, as opposed to the notion of an abstract proposition or a cognitive act.
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  44. Two Puzzles About Deontic Necessity.Dilip Ninan - 2005 - In J. Gajewski, V. Hacquard, B. Nickel & S. Yalcin (eds.), New Work on Modality, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
    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.
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  45. Metanormative Contextualism and Normative Uncertainty.John Pittard & Alex Worsnip - 2017 - Mind 126 (501):155-193.
    We offer a new argument in favour of metanormative contextualism, the thesis that the semantic value of a normative ‘ought’ claim of the form ‘ S ought to Φ’ depends on the value of one or more parameters whose values vary in a way that is determined by the context of utterance. The debate over this contextualist thesis has centred on cases that involve ‘ought’ claims made in the face of uncertainty regarding certain descriptive facts. Contextualists, relativists, and invariantists all (...)
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  46. Imperatives and Modals.Paul Portner - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (4):351-383.
    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 (...)
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  47. Reasoning with Deontic and Counterfactual Conditionals.Ana Cristina Quelhas & Ruth Byrne - 2003 - Thinking and Reasoning 9 (1):43 – 65.
    We report two new phenomena of deontic reasoning: (1) For conditionals with deontic content such as, "If the nurse cleaned up the blood then she must have worn rubber gloves", reasoners make more modus tollens inferences (from "she did not wear rubber gloves" to "she did not clean up the blood") compared to conditionals with epistemic content. (2) For conditionals in the subjunctive mood with deontic content, such as, "If the nurse had cleaned up the blood then she must have (...)
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  48. Deontic Logic and Normative Systems.Olivier Roy, Allard Tamminga & Malte Willer (eds.) - 2016 - College Publications.
    The biennial DEON conferences are designed to promote interdisciplinary cooperation amongst scholars interested in linking the formal-logical study of normative concepts and normative systems with computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, organization theory and law. In addition to these general themes, DEON 2016 encouraged a special focus on the topic "Reasons, Argumentation and Justification.".
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  49. Ought, Agents, and Actions.M. Schroeder - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):1-41.
    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, (...)
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  50. Discourse Contextualism: A Framework for Contextualist Semantics and Pragmatics.Alex Silk - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This book investigates context-sensitivity in natural language by examining the meaning and use of a target class of theoretically recalcitrant expressions. These expressions-including epistemic vocabulary, normative and evaluative vocabulary, and vague language -exhibit systematic differences from paradigm context-sensitive expressions in their discourse dynamics and embedding properties. Many researchers have responded by rethinking the nature of linguistic meaning and communication. Drawing on general insights about the role of context in interpretation and collaborative action, Silk develops an improved contextualist theory of CR-expressions (...)
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