Counterfactual-Style Revisions in the Semantics of Deontic Modals

Journal of Semantics 28 (2):171-210 (2011)
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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 well-known counterfactual puzzles in the domain of deontic statements. The article argues that the semantics of deontic modals 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



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Making Counterfactual Assumptions.Frank Veltman - 2005 - Journal of Semantics 22 (2):159-180.
Constraining Premise Sets for Counterfactuals.Angelika Kratzer - 2005 - Journal of Semantics 22 (2):153-158.

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