Priority Structures in Deontic Logic

Theoria 80 (2):116-152 (2013)
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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



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Author Profiles

Johan Van Benthem
University of Amsterdam
Fenrong Liu
Tsinghua University

Citations of this work

Deontic logic.Paul McNamara - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Priority merge and intersection modalities.Zoé Christoff, Norbert Gratzl & Olivier Roy - 2022 - Review of Symbolic Logic 15 (1):165-196.
Obligation as Optimal Goal Satisfaction.Robert Kowalski & Ken Satoh - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):579-609.
Be Nice! How Simple Imperatives Simplify Imperative Logic.Jörg Hansen - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (5):965-977.

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Norm and Action: A Logical Enquiry.Georg Henrik von Wright - 1963 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Directives and norms.Alf Ross - 1968 - Clark, NJ: Lawbook Exchange. Edited by Brian Loar.

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