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Utilitarian deontic logic

Philosophical Studies 82 (3):317 - 357 (1996)

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  1. Inheritance: Professor Procrastinate and the Logic of Obligation.Kyle H. Blumberg & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Inheritance is the principle that deontic `ought' is closed under entailment. This paper is about a tension that arises in connection with Inheritance. More specifically, it is about two observations that pull in opposite directions. One of them raises questions about the validity of Inheritance, while the other appears to provide strong support for it. We argue that existing approaches to deontic modals fail to provide us with an adequate resolution of this tension. In response, we develop a positive analysis, (...)
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  • Wishing, Decision Theory, and Two-Dimensional Content.Kyle H. Blumberg - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper is about two requirements on wish reports whose interaction motivates a novel semantics for these ascriptions. The first requirement concerns the ambiguities that arise when determiner phrases, e.g. definite descriptions, interact with `wish'. More specifically, several theorists have recently argued that attitude ascriptions featuring counterfactual attitude verbs license interpretations on which the determiner phrase is interpreted relative to the subject's beliefs. The second requirement involves the fact that desire reports in general require decision-theoretic notions for their analysis. The (...)
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  • '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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  • Instrumental Reasons.Niko Kolodny - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
    Often our reason for doing something is an "instrumental reason": that doing that is a means to doing something else that we have reason to do. What principles govern this "instrumental transmission" of reasons from ends to means? Negatively, I argue against principles often invoked in the literature, which focus on necessary or sufficient means. Positively, I propose a principle, "General Transmission," which answers to two intuitive desiderata: that reason transmits to means that are "probabilizing" and "nonsuperfluous" with respect to (...)
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  • Instrumental Normativity: In Defense of the Transmission Principle.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):921-946.
    If you ought to perform a certain act, and some other action is a necessary means for you to perform that act, then you ought to perform that other action as well – or so it seems plausible to say. This transmission principle is of both practical and theoretical significance. The aim of this paper is to defend this principle against a number of recent objections, which (as I show) are all based on core assumptions of the view called actualism. (...)
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  • Desire, Belief, and Semantic Composition: Variation in Mood Selection with Desire Predicates.Paul Portner & Aynat Rubinstein - 2020 - Natural Language Semantics 28 (4):343-393.
    Mood selection properties of desire verbs provide a rich source of evidence regarding the semantics of propositional attitudes. This paper approaches the topic by providing an analysis of crosslinguistic variation in the selection patterns of the desire verbs ‘want’ and ‘hope’, focusing on Spanish and French. There is no evidence that the meanings of ‘hope’ and ‘want’ differ between these languages, and yet in Spanish esperar ‘hope’ and querer ‘want’ both take subjunctive, while in French only vouloir ‘want’ selects subjunctive (...)
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  • Fatalism and the Logic of Unconditionals.Justin Bledin - 2020 - Noûs 54 (1):126-161.
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  • Modality, Scale Structure, and Scalar Reasoning.Daniel Lassiter - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):461-490.
    Epistemic and deontic comparatives differ in how they interact with disjunction. I argue that this difference provides a compelling empirical argument against the semantics of Kratzer, which predicts that all modal comparatives should interact with disjunction in the same way. Interestingly, an identical distinction is found in the semantics of non-modal adjectives: additive adjectives like ‘heavy’ behave logically like epistemic comparatives, and intermediate adjectives like ‘hot’ behave like deontic comparatives. I characterize this distinction formally and argue that the divergence between (...)
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  • 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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  • On Necessity and Comparison.Aynat Rubinstein - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):512-554.
    The ability to compare possibilities and designate some as ‘better’ than others is a fundamental aspect of our use of modals and propositional attitude verbs. This article aims to support a proposal by Sloman that certain modal expressions, in particular, ought, in fact have a more pronounced comparative backbone than others . The connection between ‘ought’ and ‘better’ is supported by linguistic data and a proposal is advanced for modeling ideals in a way that makes room for non-comparative, strong, priority-type (...)
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  • VI-BayesianExpressivism.Seth Yalcin - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):123-160.
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  • Objective Consequentialism and Avoidable Imperfections.Rob van Someren Greve - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):481-492.
    There are two distinct views on how to formulate an objective consequentialist account of the deontic status of actions, actualism and possibilism. On an actualist account, what matters to the deontic status of actions is only the value of the outcome an action would have, if performed. By contrast, a possibilist account also takes into account the value of the outcomes that an action could have. These two views come apart in their deontic verdicts when an agent is imperfect in (...)
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  • Two Ways to Want?Ethan Jerzak - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (2):65-98.
    I present unexplored and unaccounted for uses of 'wants'. I call them advisory uses, on which information inaccessible to the desirer herself helps determine what she wants. I show that extant theories by Stalnaker, Heim, and Levinson fail to predict these uses. They also fail to predict true indicative conditionals with 'wants' in the consequent. These problems are related: intuitively valid reasoning with modus ponens on the basis of the conditionals in question results in unembedded advisory uses. I consider two (...)
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  • Deontic Logic and Natural Language.Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Dov Gabbay, Ron van der Meyden, John Horty, Xavier Parent & Leandert van der Torre (eds.), The Handbook of Deontic Logic (Vol. II). College Publications.
    There has been a recent surge of work on deontic modality within philosophy of language. This work has put the deontic logic tradition in contact with natural language semantics, resulting in significant increase in sophistication on both ends. This chapter surveys the main motivations, achievements, and prospects of this work.
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  • A New Hope.Kyle H. Blumberg & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    The analysis of desire ascriptions has been a central topic of research for philosophers of language and mind. This work has mostly focused on providing a theory of want reports, i.e. sentences of the form 'S wants p'. In this paper, we turn attention from want reports to a closely related, but relatively understudied construction, namely hope reports, i.e. sentences of the form 'S hopes p'. We present two contrasts involving hope reports, and show that existing approaches to desire fail (...)
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  • 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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  • Epistemic Comparison, Models of Uncertainty, and the Disjunction Puzzle.D. Lassiter - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (4):649-684.
  • Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, Vol. 2. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
    In this paper I focus on a recently discussed phenomenon illustrated by sentences containing predicates of taste: the phenomenon of " perspectival plurality " , whereby sentences containing two or more predicates of taste have readings according to which each predicate pertains to a different perspective. This phenomenon has been shown to be problematic for (at least certain versions of) relativism. My main aim is to further the discussion by showing that the phenomenon extends to other perspectival expressions than predicates (...)
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  • 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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