The If P, Ought P Problem

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):555-583 (2014)

Authors
Jennifer Rose Carr
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
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 that predict these two roles for information, e.g. Kolodny and MacFarlane, predict that they vary together. I propose a generalization of Kratzer semantics that allows the two roles for information to vary independently of each other
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DOI 10.1111/papq.12048
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References found in this work BETA

Epistemic Modals.Seth Yalcin - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):983-1026.
Ifs and Oughts.Niko Kolodny & John MacFarlane - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (3):115-143.
Flexible Contextualism About Deontic Modals: A Puzzle About Information-Sensitivity.J. L. Dowell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178.
What We Know and What to Do.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2291-2323.

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