Ifs and Oughts

Journal of Philosophy 107 (3):115-143 (2010)
Authors
John MacFarlane
University of California, Berkeley
Niko Kolodny
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract
We consider a paradox involving indicative conditionals (‘ifs’) and deontic modals (‘oughts’). After considering and rejecting several standard options for resolv- ing the paradox—including rejecting various premises, positing an ambiguity or hidden contextual sensitivity, and positing a non-obvious logical form—we offer a semantics for deontic modals and indicative conditionals that resolves the paradox by making modus ponens invalid. We argue that this is a result to be welcomed on independent grounds, and we show that rejecting the general validity of modus ponens is compatible with vindicating most ordinary uses of modus ponens in reasoning.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil2010107310
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What is a Reason to Act?Kieran Setiya - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):221-235.
What We Know and What to Do.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2291-2323.
Retractions.Teresa Marques - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3335-3359.
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.

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