What ought probably means, and why you can't detach it

Synthese 177 (1):67 - 89 (2010)
Authors
Stephen Finlay
University of Southern California
Abstract
Some intuitive normative principles raise vexing 'detaching problems' by their failure to license modus ponens. I examine three such principles (a self-reliance principle and two different instrumental principles) and recent stategies employed to resolve their detaching problems. I show that solving these problems necessitates postulating an indefinitely large number of senses for 'ought'. The semantics for 'ought' that is standard in linguistics offers a unifying strategy for solving these problems, but I argue that an alternative approach combining an end-relational theory of normativity with a comparative probabilistic semantics for 'ought' provides a more satisfactory solution.
Keywords Semantics of ought  Detaching problem  Normativity  Deontic modals  Instrumental principle
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-009-9640-7
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References found in this work BETA

Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
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