In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 194-210 (2017)

Authors
Jennifer Rose Carr
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
This chapter provides a selective survey of prominent theories of the semantics of deontic modals in logic and natural language. We focus on Kratzer’s (1977; 1981; 1991) semantics and extensions to this analysis. Kratzer’s semantics has been far and away the most influential theory of deontic modals, which provide a base case for the interpretation of normative language in general. Understanding the logic and truth-conditions of normative language is one of the core areas of metaethics. It informs our understanding of normative arguments and normative reasoning. As this chapter will emphasize, some forms of normative language don’t allow for the inferences that classical logic trains philosophers to expect. Understanding what inferences are valid for normative language should impact our under-standing of how we reason, and should reason, about the normative. We will first look at how deontic modals are understood in the context of modal logic and natural language. Then we’ll survey some recent debates and discoveries in the literature on deontic modals in natural language. We close with some considerations about the relevance of natural language to metaethics.
Keywords deontic modals  Kratzer semantics  language and metaethics
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Impartial Reason.Stephen L. Darwall - 1983 - Cornell University Press.
Ifs and Oughts.Niko Kolodny & John MacFarlane - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (3):115-143.
Normative Requirements.John Broome - 1999 - Ratio 12 (4):398–419.
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